Gov. Gary Herbert should veto Senate Bill 11, a proposal that would exempt firearms made in Utah from federal regulations such as background checks.
There may indeed be an intriguing legal fight over a state's right to oversee firearms versus federal commerce laws that will be hashed out in the courts, but Utah does not need to waste money to help defend a proposed law that has minimal impact in our state other than serving as a rallying cry at conservative political events.
And that's all Senate Bill 11, sponsored by ultra-conservative State Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, really is: a potentially expensive applause line at the next Eagle Forum or Patrick Henry Caucus meeting. No one in Utah is facing a threat to his or her right to bear arms in Utah.
Indeed, the Utah Legislative Counsel, in a comment on Dayton's bill, has opined it will likely be found unconstitutional. A Montana law, similar to SB11, is already being challenged in federal court. The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Montana, arguing that regulation of firearms is a federal concern. Besides Utah, about 20 other states are considering legislation similar to Montana's Firearms Freedom Act.
As mentioned, this is an interesting legal tussle, but why is Utah involved when we are aleady pondering cutting important programs, such as education, health care and foster parent services? If cooler heads were allowed to prevail in the Legislature, Utah could file a brief in support of Montana's law or wait to see how the case is determined. If Herbert signs SB11, we will find ourselves in the midst of a court case.
If that occurs, we certainly hope that every legislator in the Legislature who voted for the bill will be the first in line to empty his or her wallet trying to defend it.
The rest of us have other, more important things to spend our hard-earned money, and tax dollars, on.