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'Common sense' constitutional carry gun bill won't advance this session

The sponsor of a bill to allow guns to be concealed without a permit has agreed to hold off this session after meeting with Gov. Gary Herbert, who vetoed similar legislation two years ago.
The sponsor of a bill to allow guns to be concealed without a permit has agreed to hold off this session after meeting with Gov. Gary Herbert, who vetoed similar legislation two years ago.
Sascha Burkard, Getty Images/iStockphoto

SALT LAKE CITY — The sponsor of a bill to allow guns to be concealed without a permit has agreed to hold off this session after meeting with Gov. Gary Herbert, who vetoed similar legislation two years ago.

Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, said Wednesday that what he called the "common sense" carry provisions of HB260 will be studied after the session to see if a compromise can be reached.

"We're coming up with a committee to talk about what the issues are," Oda said.

Those could include requiring a review of the legislation after three years, as well as possibly other gun-related proposals.

"I don't think there's anything within that bill that we can give up," he said.

The governor is "keeping stuff close to his vest," Oda said, but there are issues he wants discussed "that have nothing to do with that particular bill."

Herbert's spokesman, Marty Carpenter, said the governor told Oda his concerns haven't changed since his 2013 veto and encouraged the lawmaker to work with gun advocates and others on the bill during the legislative interim.

"It was just pretty straightforward," Carpenter said of the meeting earlier this week.

Herbert's 2013 veto cited concerns raised by law enforcement officials that the law would mean a dramatic change in the state's concealed weapons permit system that requires permit holders to pass a background check and a course in gun safety.

The state's top gun rights lobbyist, Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, said he is confident there will be a bill that will be acceptable to the governor next year.

"We are all over this. We are on top of this," Aposhian said.

Supporters of allowing gun owners to conceal weapons without a permit had hoped the governor had changed his position on the issue, he said.

The bill, which would allow anyone at least 21 years old to carry a concealed weapon that does not have a bullet in the chamber, would not have dramatically changed the existing law, Aposhian said.

"It's a tiny legislative step," he said, "but a huge step toward lawful self-defense for the people of Utah."

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