Tomorrow, Saturday April 23, 2016 is the State Convention for the Republican Party of Utah. State delegates will be voting on several offices including governor.

Incumbent Governor Gary Herbert has killed constitutional carry bills in Utah for 3 years now. In 2014 he vetoed the bill that passed the legislature by a wide margin. Last year in 2015 and this year during the 2016 legislative session he made clear he would again veto constitutional carry bills including a watered-down bill that would have allowed permit free concealed carry of a "Utah-unloaded" firearm.

Governor Herbert has collected signatures under the SB54 law and so is guaranteed a spot on the GOP Primary ballot, if there is a primary election.

He is being challenged by 3 candidates for the Republican nomination. Two of these don't seem to be running much of a campaign. But Jonathan Johnson is running an active and credible campaign. He has not attempted to bypass the delegates and convention process; no signature collection. GOUtah!'s Communications Director Bill Clayton had the chance to visit with "JJ" recently and included an excerpt of that interview in a GOUtah! Alert this past week.

The alert is reproduced here with permission.

This Week’s Take Five Make Five* Action Item

Please contact Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and ask him why he has vetoed or otherwise blocked Constitutional Carry legislation the last four years in a row. Ten states now have Constitutional Carry laws. Utah used to lead the nation in restoring and protecting the right to keep and bear arms, but we’ve fallen behind and allowed other states to get ahead of us in this regard. Why has our governor adamantly opposed even the watered-down versions of Constitutional Carry (i.e., unloaded concealed carry) that have passed or been considered by our legislature in recent years? The governor needs to be made aware of just how widespread the support for Constitutional Carry is among Utah’s gun owners.

Incidentally, if you happen to be a state delegate for Gov. Herbert’s political party, you should mention this to him when you contact him. If you are a delegate, we also encourage you to read the interview below with Jonathan Johnson, the candidate who will be challenging Gov. Herbert at his party’s upcoming state convention. Mr. Johnson has made support for Constitutional Carry a major theme of his campaign.

Contact info for Gov. Gary Herbert:

Webmail [for Gov. Gary Herbert]

350 North State Street, Suite 200
PO Box 142220
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220
Phone: (801)538-1000

Sample letter [below]


An Interview With Jonathan Johnson

Recently, GOUtah! Director of Communications Bill Clayton was invited to interview gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson about gun laws. Mr. Johnson will be challenging incumbent governor Gary Herbert at the Utah State GOP Convention this Saturday. GOUtah! does not endorse political parties or candidates, but we’re happy to speak with candidates and keep you informed about them. Here’s our interview with Mr. Johnson:

GOUtah!: If you’re elected Governor and a "constitutional carry" bill comes before you that eliminates the need for a permit to carry a loaded and concealed firearm in Utah, would you sign such a bill?

Jonathan Johnson: "Yes. You don’t need a piece of paper issued by the government in order to exercise your First Amendment rights, so you shouldn’t need a piece of paper to exercise your Second Amendment rights, either."

GOUtah!: Under current Utah firearms law, college and university campuses are treated differently from most other places. When you walk from an adjacent piece of real estate onto a university campus, the state gun laws suddenly change and become more restrictive. If the legislature were to pass a bill that treats college and university campuses the same as other places in terms of what constitutes the legal possession and carrying of firearms, would you sign such a bill?

Jonathan Johnson: "If such a bill were to come to my desk, I would sign it."

GOUtah!: Under Utah’s preemption statute, the Legislature has sole jurisdiction over the regulation of firearms at the state and local levels. Local government entities and state entities other than the Legislature are prohibited from enacting their own gun regulations unless specifically authorized to do so by the Legislature. Yet there are still local ordinances on the books in many parts of Utah prohibiting the possession or carrying of firearms in various places, such as county parks and other public facilities. These ordinances were never authorized by the Legislature and are therefore illegal under the preemption statute. However, the preemption statute has no enforcement clause, so there’s no real incentive for local government entities to remove these illegal regulations. Would you, if elected Governor, support efforts to incentivize local governments to eliminate such illegal ordinances and regulations?

Jonathan Johnson: "Yes, I would support efforts to incentivize local governments to get rid of illegal gun regulations. Although I prefer local control in most matters, I don’t believe that local governments should be allowed to violate a right that’s explicitly protected by the United States Constitution and the Utah State Constitution."

GOUtah!: Thanks for taking time to share your views with us!

Jonathan Johnson: “You’re welcome!”

Charles Hardy