- Universal Background Checks (UBC) We need to close every loophole that allows people who shouldn’t have guns to get them – this includes background checks for every gun sale, including all private (third party and gun show) sales. Over 83% of Utahns, including responsible gun owners, support universal background checks. Ask your state lawmakers where they stand on Universal Background Checks.
- Permit To Purchase Systems – States that have most effectively decreased their gun violence have permit to purchase (PTP) laws. These laws require individuals to pass background and criminal record checks through local law enforcement before they can purchase a gun. This policy reduces gun violence, stems the flow of illegal firearms to criminals and is more effective than UBC’s alone.
- Enact 3 Day Waiting Periods for Gun Purchases – Anyone in a hurry to purchase a gun should be suspect. A waiting period in tandem with PTP makes for the most effective state gun laws.
- Extreme Risk Protective Orders – (AKA Red Flag Laws) These laws allow family and law enforcement to temporarily get guns away from individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others. Once the danger has passed, the individual can have their gun back. Utah’s two biggest gun violence issues are gun suicide and domestic violence homicides. This law addresses both. In states where this has been enacted, for every 10-20 judicial orders issued, a life is saved!
- Safe Storage Laws – Responsibility for the gun must be implicit in gun ownership. Every gun owner should be personally responsible for storing guns safely, and there should be consequences when harm results from gun owners who are not responsible for their firearms.
- Ghost Gun Regulation – Ghost guns and 3D guns are do-it-yourself weapons. They are commonly purchased in kits or parts, much like Legos or models, and assembled into lethal weapons that cannot be traced due to the lack of a serial number. They do not require a background check, making them an ideal choice for criminals. Ghost guns and 3D printed guns should be regulated the same as any other lethal gun.
- Military-Style Weapons and High-Capacity Magazine Bans (or regulate them like automatic weapons) – Horrific mass shootings will continue until we address this issue. Semi-automatic assault weapons have been used in four out of five of the deadliest mass shootings in the history of the United States and will continue to contribute to the death count. These weapons were formerly banned in America under federal law but have since been legalized unless state or local law prohibits it.
- Expand Mental Health Treatment – While only a small percentage of diagnosed mentally ill persons are violent, many gun abusers have anger management and/or impulsive behavior issues that could benefit from mental health treatment. Because they are almost always lethal, guns and depression are a dangerous combination. Mental health treatment should be expanded to prevent suicide and help those who are prone to violence.
- Liability of Firearm Custodian – Lauren’s Law would create liability for gun owners who loan their guns to prohibited individuals. In 2018, a young woman at the University of Utah was shot and killed by a former dating partner that was prohibited from owning a gun. The perpetrator borrowed the murder weapon from a friend.
- Open Carry Near Schools Anyone in Utah can openly carry a firearm in public without any permit or training. Every year Utah schools are thrown into lockdown when openly carrying individuals happen by and a concerned teacher or school administrator sees them and responds. We support a 1,000-foot perimeter where open carry is restricted around schools.
FIVE BAD GUN POLICIES TO OPPOSE NOW
- Deregulation of Gun Silencers – This bill is all about money for the gun industry. SilencerCo, the major manufacturer of gun silencers is here in Utah. Silencers have been effectively regulated since 1934 because they were the accessory of choice of the gangsters in that era. That is why you don’t hear about crimes where they are used today. You can buy a silencer, but you must undergo a thorough background check and fingerprinting, and your name goes on a list (hmmm, maybe we should be doing this for semiautomatics and multi-capacity magazines, since it works?) The manufacturer wants to make it easier for people to buy, despite the safety implications for citizens
- Second Amendment Sanctuaries – (2AS, aka illegal nullification of gun laws) 2AS resolutions declare or imply that state gun safety laws do not apply in communities that adopt such resolutions. Some go as far as refusing to enforce and dedicate tax-funded resources to the implementation of state gun safety measures. These resolutions create confusion and jeopardize public safety by interfering with the implementation of life-saving gun violence prevention laws. In 2021 11 out of 29 counties in Utah have declared themselves 2A sanctuaries, another 5 have declarations supporting the Second Amendment and 4 are currently pursuing 2A Sanctuary status. It is the responsibility of our courts, not local governments, to be the arbiters of a law’s constitutionality. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in the District of Columbia v Heller (2008) case said that the Second Amendment was not unlimited and that a range of gun regulations are fully consistent with the Second Amendment.
- Permitless Carry – Twenty-one states – including Utah – have done away with their concealed carry permitting requirement. Utah’s permitting process was already weak. You simply sat in a classroom for four hours and took a written test. You were not required to fire or show any proficiency with a gun. Weak, but weak was better than nothing! The class included a video section that educated gun owners about the dangers of gun suicide and offered useful strategies if they or someone else were depressed and had access to a firearm.
- Stand Your Ground – Utah was the first state to enact this law and has gradually made it easier and easier for someone to shoot and kill a person, claim self-defense and not have to answer before a jury in court for taking a life. Recent studies show that homicide rates increase in states with these kinds of self-defense laws. Currently, Florida and Utah have the most permissive self-defense laws in the country.
- International Traffic in Arms – During the Trump administration oversight for international arms sales was moved from the State Department to the Commerce Department. Can you say “More money for the Gun Lobby?” We are now exporting our gun violence crisis to other countries in the world. Mexico has sued the United States for an increase in gun violence.
On the federal level:
- The Biden administration has signaled that it will support some forms of gun control legislation. Keep up on your news!