Safe Schools Commission issues recommendations to prevent gun violence

Jun 20, 2018, 7:13 PM | Updated: 9:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mandated mental health reporting and laws that would allow family and law enforcement to obtain gun violence restraining orders against at-risk individuals were among some of the top-tier recommendations put forth by the Utah Safe Schools Commission Wednesday.

Rep. Raymond Ward R-Bountiful presents the Utah Safe School Commission findings in a press conference Wednesday.

The group, made up of people on various sides of the issue, and headed up by Representative Raymond Ward R-Bountiful, prioritized their list, starting with items that garnered the most consensus support.

“This is not a simple approach,” said Utah’s House Majority Leader, Greg Hughes, at a press conference. “There isn’t a silver bullet when we talk about how we make sure that E schools and our students are safe.”

Members of March for Our Lives Isaac Reese and Elizabeth Love (left), Terryl Warner with the Utah State Board of Education (center), and House Speaker Greg Hughes (right) listen as commission recommendations are presented to the media.

Representative Ward pointed out that making well-trained mental health professionals accessible to Utah Schools also had overall support from the group.

“What I hope to gain is an accurate and quick assessment of when a student is in more trouble,” Ward said. “More danger either to others or to themselves, which I think right now doesn’t always happen.”

A set of tier two recommendations, that had majority support, but also drew some opposition included waiting periods to obtain firearms, and universal background checks. Members of March For Our Lives, which was also represented in the commission said they hope to see some of those items come to fruition in the future.

“I think a lot of the results reflected many of the things we’ve been asking for,” said Elizabeth Love, a recent West High School Graduate who sat on the commission. “I also think that there’s more consensus on universal background checks than you realize – 89 percent of Utahns support that.”

A full list of the commission’s recommendations were presented to the Utah Education Interim Committee Wednesday. Representative Steve Handy R-Layton sponsored a bill for gun violence restraining orders earlier this year, however the bill failed to make it out of a house committee.

The complete Utah Safe Schools Commission report can be read at house.utah.gov.

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Safe Schools Commission issues recommendations to prevent gun violence