Utah Advocacy Groups Urge Action In Gun Reform

Aug 6, 2019, 6:02 AM | Updated: 6:03 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utahns are demanding action in Washington D.C. in the wake of two tragic mass shootings over the weekend.

“It’s about time,” said Steve Andersen as he walked down the streets of Salt Lake City Monday afternoon.

The pace of many is quick, but their destinations vary, as do the messages Utahns have for leaders in our nation’s capital.

“Second amendment rights, gun violence – I feel like it’s all very complicated,” cyclist Dallin Cheng said after stopping at an intersection on his bike.

For others though, the response seems clear.

“My opinion is, it’s not guns, it’s hearts,” Jolene Merrill said. “The nation needs to get back to God.”

“I feel like gun control is really the only way to handle the situation,” Salt Lake resident Olivia Wright said.

“I think we should get rid of assault rifles,” Austin McNulty added. “There’s no need for them.”

“A lot of people have been asking for stricter background checks, banning semi-automatics, those kinds of things,” said Lauren Elaine, who is visiting from Colorado. “So that’s what I would say to Washington is – ‘how many more until congress starts listening?’”

Advocacy Groups Call For Gun Reform

Utah advocacy groups call for gun reform in the wake of mass shootings in El Pas, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, August 5, 2019

Elaine is visiting Jason Wheelock, who lives in Utah but spent his childhood in Dayton, Ohio – one of two mass shooting scenes over the weekend.

“I don’t have a political stance on these types of things,” Wheelock said. “But I know growing up in Dayton, you hear something like this happen and it affects you a little more personally.”

“It’s awful that (the Dayton and El Paso shootings) happened,” Cheng agreed. “We do have the second amendment for a reason and I think what I want to send to Washington is – I want us to remember why we have those rights, and then start the discussion from there.”

On Monday, the Gun Violence Prevention Center, March for our Lives, Moms Demand Action and Alliance for a Better Utah came together to demand action from the state’s senators. The groups specifically called on Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney to support three things:

  1. H.R. 8, a bill to strengthen background checks. The House of Representatives already passed the bill earlier this year. It’s now in the hands of the U.S. Senate.
  2. Funding to study gun violence. This House has already approved this funding. This is also now in the hands of the Senate.
  3. Reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons.

“These three reforms are something that could prevent some mass shootings,” said Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah. “It’s a step beyond just talking about. It’s a step beyond thoughts and prayers. We need to be taking action.”

If there’s one thing that Utahns KSL spoke to seem to agree on, it’s that something needs to happen.

“There’s just a lot of evil in the world. They’re going to find a way to hurt each other no matter what,” Wheelock said. “Are we doing everything we can to slow it down or stop it? That’s the best we can do.”

In a statement sent out Monday, Senator Romney said in part, “Many of my Senate colleagues have proposals that touch on different aspects of this debate. These issues involve constitutional rights and deeply held beliefs – but that is not an excuse to shy away from a serious, fact-based, and thorough national discussion which will potentially lead to remedial legislation. This will require courage and a willingness from all sides to find areas of consensus, instead of retreating to partisan corners. I am determined to be a constructive voice in that endeavor.”

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Utah Advocacy Groups Urge Action In Gun Reform