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LEAVITT IS URGED TO OPPOSE '95 CONCEALED-WEAPONS LAW

Democrat Jim Bradley says GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt should speak out opposing concealed weapons in schools and churches.

Last week, Leavitt refused to take a stand on changing the state's sweeping concealed-weapons permit law. The law says those granted permits will be "unrestricted" where they can legally take weapons.Two weeks ago, Leavitt's public safety commissioner, Doug Bodrero, told a legislative interim committee that Utah law is confusing over whether public schools, businesses, even churches, can ban concealed weapons from their premises. He asked lawmakers to make a clear decision where permit holders may take their guns, adding it is his belief that school administrators and clergy should have the power to ban concealed weapons from their environs.

But Leavitt, speaking at his monthly KUED news conference, said last week he has no opinion on the matter.

Leavitt's statement led Bradley to say: "This reflects (Leavitt's) inability to make decisions on important public policy issues without first checking with pollsters, spin meisters or special interest groups. Clearly, concealed weapons should not be present on school grounds or in classrooms and the governor should say so."

Bradley, who faces a very popular and well-funded Leavitt in November's election, said the governor should have been paying closer attention when the bill, passed by the 1995 Legislature, came before him. It was poorly written legislation that should have been vetoed, Bradley added.

Bradley said citizens have the right to bear arms and should be able to carry concealed weapons, but "we should use common sense and good judgment in restricting their presence in certain places," like schools and churches.