Late during the last night of this past legislative session, we voted on what ended up being one of my favorite pieces of legislation – HB 36. It is a simple little bill that allows people to capture and use the storm water on their own private property.
The reason I love this bill so much, aside from the fact that it just makes sense, is because it returns a freedom to the people from whom it was taken.
Too often, lawmakers spend time thinking of things they can outlaw or decree. Government is never satisfied for long before it finds another behavior to prohibit or mandate to enact. It is the natural disposition of government to grow. And when government grows, freedoms shrink.
The hot topic in Utah these days is whether or not we will have an override session to debate the governor’s veto of 1 HB 76. I voted for the bill during the session, and this week I voted in favor of convening an override session. I did so for three reasons.
First of all, I’ve been very disappointed in the mischaracterization of the bill. This bill does not gut our conceal carry laws, as some have asserted. It would still be necessary to obtain a permit in order to conceal carry a loaded gun, benefit from reciprocity with other states and receive the discounts on background checks for gun purchases. The bill is really very simple, adding, literally, one sentence of new code to Utah law.
Second, the bill just makes sense. Carrying an unloaded gun is already legal without a permit. Concealing that unloaded gun discretely underneath a jacket, rather than having it prominently displayed on a hip is far less inflammatory. Why should it be legal for someone to carry an unloaded gun on his hip, but illegal for him to put a jacket on over that same gun? What difference will that make to a law-abiding individual? And let’s face it; law-abiding individuals are the only people who will comply with gun laws anyway.
Third – and definitely most importantly – is the same reason I love the storm water bill so much. 1 HB 76 would return a precious bit of freedom to people, an unusual move for government. Once a freedom is taken away, it’s seldom returned.
Utah has common sense gun laws. I’m proud of our state. If the legislature hadn’t passed 1 HB 76, I don’t think anyone would have much reason to complain. But we did pass it. Overwhelmingly. We, in essence, voted to restore what had been lost. The legislature doesn’t do that often enough. We should uphold our vote and override the Governor’s veto.