- **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.
- 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 get their gun back. Utah’s two biggest gun violence issues are: gun suicide and domestic violence shootings. 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 for those who are not responsible for their firearms.
- **Bump Stock Ban – Not only do bump stocks accelerate the rate of fire of semiautomatic guns to that of automatic weapons, they also turn them into a weapon with compromised aiming ability – basically a scattershot automatic gun. Automatic weapons are heavily regulated for a reason. Bump stocks should be banned.
- Military-Style Weapons and High Capacity Magazine Bans (or regulate them like automatic weapons) – Horrific mass shootings will continue until we address this issue.
- 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.
- *Liability of Firearm Custodian – Lauren’s Law would create liability for gun owners who loan their guns to prohibited individuals. This law is named for the young woman at the University of Utah who, in 2018, was shot and killed by a former dating partner who was prohibited from having a gun, but borrowed one from a friend. Rep. Stoddard is a new member of the Utah Legislature.
- *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. Rep. Briscoe has a bill that would prohibit open carry within a 500 foot perimeter around schools. We support this Bill, but think a 1,000 foot perimeter would be even better!
*NOTE: Look for these good gun bills during the legislative session. Call and ask your Utah Representative to support them. Tell them you’ll be watching how they vote!
5 BAD GUN POLICIES TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST NOW
- Permitless Carry – Eleven states have done away with their concealed carry permitting process, and the Gun Lobby is aching for Utah to become #12. To be sure Utah’s Concealed Carry permitting process is weak. You simply sit in a classroom for a couple of hours and take a written test. You are not required to fire a gun or show any proficiency with a gun. Weak, but weak is better than nothing! Governor Gary Herbert vetoed this Bill when it passed the Legislature. Once he leaves office, expect the Gun Lobby to come back and try again. Two years ago the training added a video section that educates gun owners about the dangers of gun suicide and offers useful strategies if they or someone else is depressed and has access to a firearm.Why would we do away with this?
- Concealed Carry Reciprocity – In Utah we have some sensible gun laws, mostly around keeping guns away from domestic violence abusers. Concealed carry reciprocity would allow those who are authorized to conceal carry in their home state to also conceal carry in Utah – this means even those individuals from permit-less carry states, where no permit is required to conceal carry a weapon. This law also creates a logistical nightmare for law enforcement who have to enforce the law differently for in-state and out-of-state individuals. Reps Curtis and Bishop are co-sponsors of HR38. Why would we undermine one of the few good gun laws we have?
- 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, and our Utah delegation is on board. Reps. Bishop and Stewart are co-sponsors on this bill.
- International Traffic In Arms – There is a move afoot to shift oversight for international arms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department. Can you say “More business for the Gun Lobby?” Let’s not export our gun violence crisis to every other country in the world.
- 3D Printed Guns and Ghost Guns – Recently the State Department settled a lawsuit barring Cody Wilson, a self-described crypto-anarchist, from posting blueprints for 3D guns online. A federal judge blocked him temporarily and since then, he has said he will sell the files for $10 each. Until Congress bans 3D printed and ghost guns, anyone – be they US criminals or foreign terrorists – can access these guns. Because 3D guns can be printed in plastic, they can easily get through security checks, and they are untraceable – making them the perfect choice for criminals. Sen. Mike Lee supports 3D printed guns saying that this is a First Amendment (free speech) issue. We think that is a nonsense argument that ignores public-safety concerns.
On the federal level:
- The Biden administration has signaled that it will support some forms of gun control legislation. Keep up on your news!