Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed HB 76, a bill that would allow any Utahn over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit unless the weapon has a round in the chamber. Now it’s up to Utah lawmakers to decide if they want to overrule the governor’s decision.
Governor Herbert says he vetoed HB 76 because Utah’s current gun laws have served the state well and have become a model for the nation.
“So that’s a reason why if it ain’t broke don’t fix it," Herbert says.
The Governor also responded to supporters of the legislation who say concealed carry permits are a barrier to the constitutional right to bear arms.
“Nobody has complained about it for the past 25 years as a violation of our right to bear arms," Herbert says. "So anybody who says it’s not constitutional is not reading the constitution correctly nor the case law that we have on the books.”
The bill passed the Utah legislature with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. That’s enough votes to override the Governor’s veto. Republican leaders in both chambers will wait until April 3rd, the deadline for Governor Herbert to sign or veto bills passed in this session. Then leaders will poll members on whether or not to convene a special session. If two thirds of members approve, an override session will be called.
Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund says he would support an override if his caucus votes to call a special session, but he’s unsure if the veto on this bill merits that level of action.
“I haven’t started talking to anybody in my caucus yet," Okerlund says. "I think the time will come when we will start making some telephone calls and see how many there are in our caucus that would support an override session.”
The last day for the Utah legislature to begin a veto-override session is May 13th.