SALT LAKE CITY -- In anticipation of a wave of gun-related legislation from the Legislature, Gov. Gary Herbert has issued his five guiding principles for gun bills.
On Thursday Herbert said lawmakers should be reasonable and practical in the policies they draw up when dealing with gun legislation. He then outlined his expectations for any legislation that will earn his signature.
"It is just time to count to 10 and be a little more thoughtful about this," Herbert said while addressing the media in a conference room located his office at the state capitol.
Herbert said each piece of gun legislation needs to:
• Respect the Second Amendment
• Create a rational solution
• Enforce existing laws
• Protect the vulnerable
• Address the growing culture of violence.
The move is similar to what Herbert did in 2011 when debates about immigration policies were heating up in the Legislature. To prevent lawmakers from running legislation based on emotion and passion he unveiled a guiding list of principles for immigration policy that he would support.
He hoped the list would promote thoughtful ideas when a lawmaker addressed the emotionally charged issue. He is hoping his new gun principles will do the same this year.
Herbert had not shared his guiding principles with the Legislature yet but House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, said his principles are something everyone would support.
Most of the gun-related legislation will come from the House. It is expected that six gun bills will be assigned to a committee on Friday and then receive a public hearing next week. House leadership has not adopted a similar set of guiding principles. Lockhart said she expects the bills will bring about a passionate debate when they are considered next week.
"Whenever you talk about the Second Amendment there is going to be emotion," she said.
Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, the majority whip, said the emotion comes from people being worried that the federal government may attempt to restrict people's Second Amendment rights. He agreed with Herbert that legislation should be methodical and not based on emotion.
"You have to be calm. You have to have good reason behind public policy; you can't let emotion get you carried away," he said.