The Utah state Legislature should respect Gov. Gary Herbert's wise veto of House Bill 76, which would have allowed Utah residents to carry a concealed firearm without a valid permit. It was an unnecessary law that was based on a convoluted, risible theory: that someone needing a gun -- perhaps a rancher for protection -- would be in violation of the law if a coat, or blanket ... accidentally covered the weapon.
Despite its utter uselessness as a law, HB76 passed both house of the Utah Legislature by wide enough margins that the governor's veto could be overturned if there are votes in both chambers.
We urge legislators to heed the governor's wisdom on this gun rights issue. Study the issue some more. Herbert was right to issue the veto. The perceived "threat" of HB76 does not exist. If necessary, some lawmakers have the opportunity to correct their mistake and make sure that the bill maintains the merciful death that Herbert's veto provided.
HB76 was a message bill. As Herbert correctly noted, it tried to "fix" a problem that didn't exist. Utah has a reasonable law for concealed-carry permits. Hundreds of thousands of state residents have the permits. There is nothing in the current law that restricts the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Supporters of HB76 are seeking to remove a portion of the state's concealed-carry law that mandates that those who carry a concealed weapon have a permit. As Herbert noted in a letter to Utah legislative leaders, he had "yet to receive any credible evidence that Utah's current permit process constitutes a hardship."
The bill was a time-waster. Utah's current concealed-carry permit law has been around for almost a generation, and no one needs to be concerned that a stray coat covering an unloaded weapon is going to deprive any Utahn of his or her rights.