Bill allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit is dead for 2017, and the NRA is to blame

Once again, a bill aimed at allowing law-abiding Utahns to carry a concealed weapon without a special permit will die on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

But HB273 – which also restricts domestic abusers’ possession of firearms – is dead for an odd reason: Opposition by the National Rifle Association.

Senate sponsor of HB273, Curt Bramble, R-Provo, told UtahPolicy Wednesday afternoon that after a meeting between himself, House sponsor Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, and GOP Gov. Gary Herbert Wednesday morning, it’s been decided to study the issues of gun control in Utah for at least the rest of this year.

“There are other issues the governor wants to study, like firearms on college campuses, and we agree with that,” said Bramble.

Jeremy Roberts, who worked on the domestic violence part of the bill, was also in the meeting with Herbert Wednesday morning and said Herbert was “shocked” when they told him they did not plan to move forward with the bill.

Herbert vetoed several years ago a “constitutional carry” bill that passed the Legislature.

And several times Herbert has strongly urged lawmakers not to pass one – threatening a veto.

But there appeared to be momentum in this session for a constitutional carry bill.

HB237 would have allowed adults over 21 years old to carry a concealed weapon in the state without a concealed carry permit.

But it doesn’t do away with such permits, with Perry, a UPH lieutenant, saying there are many good reasons to get such a permit – mainly because they allow conceal-carry in more than 30 other states that recognize Utah’s CC permit.

However, state law does not allow the carrying of a concealed weapon while it is loaded. Bullets can be in the magazine, but not chambered. The NRA wanted that part of the law changed.

Bramble is clearly upset by the anti-HB273 lobbying by the NRA. (You can see one of the gun-rights’ group’s latest emails below.)

20170301 NRA Story 01

Legislators’ email and smartphones have been blasted with NRA material and contacts from NRA activists in recent days, UtahPolicy is told.

Bramble admitted – as reported before by UtahPolicy without naming the senator – that it was he who kicked an NRA lobbyist out of his Capitol Hill office earlier this session.

“I don’t take threats lightly,” said Bramble, a scrappy lawmaker, and former college wrestler.

He said the NRA had threatened not only to kill the bill but to work against the election of any Utah legislator who supported it.

“The NRA is dictating to us; what we had to do,” said Bramble. “I always believed it was up to the governor and legislators to decide” policy for the state of Utah.

“It is too bad that conservative groups” like the NRA “fight against conservative legislation by forming a circular firing squad – pun intended,” said Bramble.

Roberts, who is a member of the NRA, also agreed the group went too far this time.

“They poisoned the well on this. They made sure no legislator would touch this issue.”

Bramble classified himself, Herbert and Perry as strong defenders of 2nd Amendment rights – but that the NRA went too far this time in lobbying against HB237.