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Utah bishop urges veto of gun bill

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Catholic leader is urging Governor Gary Herbert to veto a measure eliminating the need for a permit to carry a concealed gun in the state.

Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City wrote to Herbert that the bill ‘‘establishes a culture in Utah that prioritizes deadly weapons over human life.’’

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‘‘Most importantly, removing all restrictions on Utahns who want to carry firearms in public parks, businesses, or any other suburban or urban locale sends the message that deadly force and intimidation are not only allowed in our state, but encouraged,’’ he said.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart said the bill achieved ­veto-proof, two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate, and reflected the will of constituents.

Mayor Ralph Becker of Salt Lake City and Alissa Parker, whose daughter was among 20 students killed in December’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn., joined Wester in pressing for a veto.

The measure would allow anyone 21 or older to carry a hidden gun, as long as it’s unloaded and the person hasn’t been convicted of a crime that bars a person from legally owning a firearm.

It would eliminate the need for classes or background checks.

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