SALT LAKE CITY -- The Senate passed a bill Friday that allows guns to be carried closer to schools, even though the governor may veto it.
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, voted against House Bill 177 -- even though he supports it -- because he believes Gov. Gary Herbert will veto it. With Hillyard's dissenting vote, if the governor vetoes it, he could bring the bill back for an override vote.
HB 177, sponsored by Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, was approved, 19-8, by the Senate. It now goes to the governor's office for his consideration.
The bill allows a person to legally carry a gun openly up to school property. Currently, guns cannot be carried openly within 1,000 feet of a school.
Hillyard had introduced an amendment on behalf of the governor that would have made the buffer zone 50 feet around school property.
"Someone walking up and down the street in front of school carrying a weapon in front of the school is not practical," Hillyard said.
The amendment was not approved.
Oda said the amendment would just cause problems for those who live close to school property or have a car that breaks down near a school.
"If they have a gun in their own backyard, they're legal," Oda said. "But if they go on the other side of the fence, they're not."
"And what if a person breaks down near a school and takes things out of his car, including a gun?" Oda said. "He's then breaking the law."
Oda said his bill does not change the law if a person commits a crime near a school using a gun. That person would could still be charged with an enhancement for using a gun. It also does not change the law that currently prohibits convicted felons from carrying weapons.