Utah House Democrats Open Multiple Bill Files Addressing Gun Violence

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: 
May 8, 2018

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
o: (801) 326-1568 | c: (385) 228-5483
rosschambless@le.utah.gov

Utah House Democrats Open Multiple Bill Files Addressing Gun Violence 

SALT LAKE CITY – House Democrats are serious about protecting Utahns from gun violence. 

Today, on the first day that bill files can be opened for the 2019 General Session, House Democrats have begun taking actions to address growing concerns about gun violence.

House Minority Leader Representative Brian King, House District 28, opened a bill file today to require background checks for all firearm sales in the state.  The bill seeks to close “loopholes” such as transactions at gun shows and private online purchases where unlicensed dealers can sell a gun to people without a background check.     

“This is common sense legislation,” said Representative King. “Polling regularly shows that 90 percent of Utahns support requiring background checks for all gun sales, and this support is consistent across the country as well.” 

Representative Joel Briscoe, House District 25, opened a bill file today to prohibit openly carrying firearms around K-12 schools.

“There are regular reports in the Utah media about school lockdowns ordered because someone informs law enforcement that they have seen someone openly carrying a weapon,” said Representative Briscoe. “Our children’s education shouldn’t have to routinely be disrupted because someone wants to brandish a weapon outside a school.” 

Representative Patrice Arent, House District 36, opened three bill files dealing with firearms.  One bill would ban the sale of bump stocks, which are devices that make semi-automatic rifles shoot like rapid fire machine guns. The bill would ban the devices in Utah unless the Federal government outlaws them first. 

Another bill file opened by Representative Arent is a resolution urging Congress to repeal the 1996 Federal “Dickey Amendment” that has prevented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from researching the effects of gun violence on public health.

A third issue that Representative Arent is reviewing is possible legislation to allow Utahns options for safe disposal of firearms. “I am trying to find a solution for people, like one of my constituents, who wanted to dispose of his gun and did not know what to do with it,” said Representative Arent. “He did not want to sell it to anyone else. Currently, we do not have an answer to this question, so we are looking into the issue.”

Representative Elizabeth Weight, House District 31, opened a bill file to require that all firearms be stored in a safe or with a locking device in place when the firearms are not in use. “Most responsible gun owners already keep their guns safely secured when not using them,” said Representative Weight. “Having some reasonable safety measures isn’t too much to ask.  We want to encourage a safe and thoughtful culture around guns and gun ownership.”

Representative Weight added, “Democrats are interested in preserving Second Amendment rights, but we also see some urgent and critical areas in our laws where we need to improve safety when it comes to firearms.”

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