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Utah Legislature: Gun bill passes House despite objection

SALT LAKE CITY — It may seem like a minor thing to some, but Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, believes the House Republican majority abused its power Wednesday over a gun bill vote.

SB11, which would allow a gun to be exempt from federal control if it was manufactured, sold and owned in Utah, had a favorable vote.

But Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, was off the floor and missed the vote. He asked that his "aye" vote be counted. That is possible so long as his vote doesn't change passage or defeat.

But that takes a vote of the body, and Hansen objected. House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, then asked for a voice vote, which was in Noel's favor. But Hansen again said "nay."

A bit upset, the Republicans then called the bill back for another vote, so Noel's "aye" could be counted.

"Why do that?" Hansen said later. "It is an abuse of power," although it was perfectly legal to do so. "Why have a rule where you can object to someone's (late) vote if you just call the bill back and vote it again?"

Ultimately, Noel's vote in favor of the state's rights bill was counted, the bill passed and will go to Gov. Gary Herbert for signature.

See the bill at

— Bob Bernick Jr.