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Live Mic: Should Utah pass a constitutional carry law?

Photo: Luevanos Getty Images/iStockphoto

SALT LAKE CITY — Should Utah approve a constitutional carry law, allowing someone to carry a handgun without a license or permit?

Republican Rep. Walt Brooks of St. George has proposed a bill that would permit a person, who is 21 years or older and who may lawfully possess a firearm, to carry a concealed firearm in a public area without a permit. But the 2020 legislative session ends Thursday.

A constitutional carry law in Utah?

Clark Aposhian, chairman of Utah Shooting Sports Council, joined Lee Lonsberry on “Live Mic” to talk about Brooks’ bill.

In 2013, by a veto-proof two-thirds majority in both the Utah House and Senate, a similar bill passed, but it was subsequently vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert who said that the existing gun laws did not restrict a person’s ability to acquire a concealed carry permit.

At the time, Herbert said he had not received any credible evidence that Utah’s current permit process constitutes a hardship on the right to bear arms.

Small step is a big one

Utah today is among 19 states and D.C. that will issue a concealed carry permit to anyone who applies and meets the requirements.

Aposhian said state law now allows a person older than 21 to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle without any permit. The same person can now openly carry a firearm, he said. With a constitutional carry law, the only difference is that the person can wear a jacket to conceal the weapon.

Why is the bill being held up if the votes are there to pass it? Lee asked.

Aposhian said the presumed veto by Herbert is what’s stopping the bill from advancing.

“They won’t even run it, even though they have overriding veto power,” he said.

Legislatively, he said, passing the constitutional carry bill is a small step.

“But perception-wise, it’s a giant step,” Aposhian said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.