Utah Gun Control: Solution to a Problem that Doesn’t Exist

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Utah run rights advocate Clark Aposhian spoke during last Saturday’s gun rights rally in Salt Lake City. (YouTube, KSTU News)

Utah’s Clark Aposhian can be rather blunt at times, and so it was when he chatted early Monday with “Fox & Friends First,” telling viewers that the Beehive State has no pressing need for restrictive gun control laws.

“In Utah,” he said, “we have one of the highest rates of firearm ownership, very, very little restrictions on firearms, we’re a very permissive state. “Yet we have one of the lowest homicide and violent crime rates, even with a firearm, in the country, so what we’re asking for is to fix a problem that isn’t there.”

Hundreds of Second Amendment activists gathered over the weekend at the state capitol in Salt Lake City to “just say no” to gun control. The Salt Lake Tribune reported the rally.

Aposhian is chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council. He has been active for years, defending the rights of Utah gun owners. Faced with some gun control measures that gun owners do not like, Aposhian told the newspaper, “It’s not about helping people it’s about confiscating guns.”

There were four bills of particular interest to the Utah crowd, all mentioned by Fox News.

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They include House Bill 136, which is a “secure storage” bill making it a crime if a child or unauthorized person gets hold of a firearm, resulting in harm to themselves or someone else; H.B. 229, a “red flag” law; H.B. 109, a so-called “universal background check” measure, and H.B. 115, which says people can be held liable for damage caused by some else using their guns.

There has been a nationwide push at the state level this winter for various gun control measures, sometimes advertised as an effort to improve school safety. But the Trump administration on Monday unveiled a new initiative to prevent future tragedies such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attack almost two years ago that took the lives of 17 students and adults in Parkland, Fla.

President Donald Trump met privately Monday with the families of several Parkland victims before the White House announced the launch of the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website: SchoolSafety.gov.

According to a White House press release, this website is a “one-stop-shop of resources for Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) administrators, educators, parents and law enforcement to use to prepare for and address various threats related to safety, security, and support in schools.”

One national gun rights group, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), was quick to announce its support of the effort.

According to the White House, the Federal School Safety Clearinghouse and SchoolSafety.gov were developed to fulfill one of the key recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety.

SchoolSafety.gov includes:

  • The School Safety Readiness Tool, an assessment that assists users in evaluating their respective school’s safety posture across ten foundational elements of school safety. After completing the assessment, users are provided an action plan with task prioritization, options for consideration, aligned resources, and grant opportunities specific to individual needs;
  • A Secure Information Sharing Platform for designated school personnel to share school safety ideas, practices, plans, and tactics in a protected environment; and
  • A wide array of resources and best practices on key school safety topics to assist with building awareness within the school community to promote vigilance and build capacity to respond to incidents.

“We think this is a step in the right direction,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb, “because it focuses on actual school security without proposing restrictions on law-abiding firearms owners that would not improve school safety, nor would they have prevented the tragedy in Parkland.”

Gottlieb added that he is “tired of seeing America’s honest firearms owners being made the scapegoats for horrible crimes they did not commit.”

Utah has the highest number of concealed carry permits of any of the far western states. Coming in second is Washington State.

The Utah rally in Salt Lake City over the weekend underscored the resolve that Beehive State gun owners and activists have against restrictive gun control efforts.

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