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Gov. Gary Herbert vetoes ‘constitutional carry’ bill

SHARE Gov. Gary Herbert vetoes ‘constitutional carry’ bill

Gov. Gary Herbert's office announced Friday that the governor would veto HB76 — known as the constitutional carry bill — that would allow Utahns to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

"The right to bear arms . . . is a fundamental right which must be jealously protected," Herbert wrote to House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser. "HB 76 S1 does not, however, impose a restriction on the right to bear arms. Rather, it removes an existing provision of Utah law that those who carry a concealed weapon obtain a permit. Utah's permitting system has been in place for decades, and in its current form for more than 15 years. In that time, it has become a national model."

Current law allows anyone over 18 to openly carry a weapon and requires a concealed weapons permit for those who want to shield their weapons from view, except in their vehicles.

In his letter, Herbert said he has not received any credible evidence that Utah's current permit process constitutes a hardship on the right to bear arms, echoing a point he has made throughout the session.

HB76 was amended in the House so a gun concealed without a permit could not have a round in the chamber, which Herbert said was a “significant improvement” to the bill.

In the days leading up to Herbert's decision Friday, the governor’s office was inundated with emails, phone calls and letter asking the governor to veto or sign the bill.

The measure passed by more than a two-thirds majority in both the House (51-18) and the Senate, making it "veto proof" provided lawmakers who favored the bill don't change their minds in an override session.