The Utah Legislature ignored President Barack Obama’s call for nationwide gun control measures during its 2013 session. One of the most controversial bills passed was HB76, sponsored by Representative John Mathis-R, Vernal - a bill that allows Utahns over the age of 21 to carry an unloaded gun. The gun can be concealed or carried openly.
In Utah, an “unloaded” gun means there is no bullet in the chamber ready to be fired. However, the carrier can have a fully loaded magazine.
No permit would be required, meaning no background checks.
Groups both opposing the proposed law and supporting it have been contacting Governor Gary Herbert to make their feelings known. Currently, more Utahns have said they want the governor to sign the bill. Herbert told the legislature during the session that he likes Utah’s gun laws as they are and said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
If Herbert does veto, the vote that initially passed the bill would be enough - just enough - to override. The Utah Senate passed it 22-7 and the House of Representatives did 51-18. It would take 20 votes to override it in the Senate and 50 in the House, and it would require a Special Session.
Opposition to the bill includes Utah Chiefs of Police, the Catholic Church, and the Alliance for a Better Utah. Supporters of the bill include farmers and ranchers who need to carry weapons during the course of their work, some sporting groups and those who believe the right to carry a weapon is guaranteed by the Second Amendment - the “right to keep and bear arms.”
If you would like to voice your opinion about HB76, you can contact Governor Herbert’s office by calling (801) 538-1000, call toll free at (800) 705-2464 or by clicking here. If you would like to sign an online petition asking for his veto, you can do that by clicking here.
Herbert has until April 3 to decide to veto or not veto the bill.
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Source: Utah Legislature, Salt Lake Tribune, US Constitution, Utah Governor’s Office, Utah Alliance for a Better Utah