Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed House Bill 76 on Friday, which would give Utahns the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
Herbert has been considering using his veto power for some time as groups on both sides of the issue have encouraged him to come down on their side. The bill was passed by both houses of Utah’s Congress with a two-thirds majority.
The governor explained his decision in a letter, according to a press release.
“The right to bear arms… is a fundamental right which must be jealously protected,” wrote the Governor in his letter to House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, where he stated his reasons for disapproving the bill. He continued, “HB 76S1 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.”
“As a gun owner and concealed firearm permit holder, I understand the value of the permit, both to firearm owners and to the public at large,” Governor Herbert wrote. “As a State, we must exercise extreme care that we not impose undue burdens on the right to bear arms, but I have yet to receive any credible evidence that Utah’s current permit process constitutes a hardship.”
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