Mixed reaction in Utah to bipartisan gun proposal

Jun 13, 2022, 7:56 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — A new bipartisan plan in Washington that includes gun control measures received mixed reaction in Utah Monday, in the wake of two horrific mass shootings in Texas and New York.

A gun control advocate and a Republican state legislator told KSL that they are glad to see senators on both sides of the aisle work together on gun reform. But both voiced reservations about its impact on mass shootings and gun violence in Utah.

“Any movement is good movement,” said Nancy Halden, communications director at the nonpartisan, non-profit Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah.

But Halden pointed out that the bill came about because of recent mass shootings but that it would not address those types of tragedies effectively.

“Does it go far enough? No. Will it stop mass shootings? Sadly no.”

Halden argues that “if we want to address the issue of mass shootings, we got to address the issue of assault weapons.”

“I don’t see the Uvalde shooting or the Buffalo shooting as a groundswell of support for the Utah legislature to completely change our gun laws in Utah,” said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-District 23.

Senate bargainers announce outline of gun violence agreement

Weiler said he was surprised the proposed legislation does not include a ban on assault rifles.

What it does include is investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs. Halden said it closes the “boyfriend loophole” in domestic violence incidents involving guns and it provides funding for school safety resources.

The agreement between 20 Republican and Democratic senators also includes an “enhanced review process” for people under 21 who want to buy guns. That process would include reviewing juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.

And the proposal provides resources for states and tribes to pass so-called red flag gun laws. Halden and Weiler both acknowledged previous attempts in Utah to pass laws that would take away guns from those who would harm themselves or others.

“They’re saying maybe if we give the states some money, they’ll do what we want them to do. I don’t think that’s going to work in Utah,” Weiler said, adding that he would support such laws that meet due process requirements.

“As long as there’s a notice and a hearing, I think families should have the ability to say, ‘We have this relative who is mentally unstable right now and they shouldn’t have their guns.’”

Sen. Mitt Romney is among 10 Republicans who reached the deal on the proposal over the weekend.

Sen. Mike Lee did not work on the proposal but tweeted that he would always stand by the second amendment and looked forward to reviewing the legislation after it was drawn up.

In a joint statement, the 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats who worked on the plan called it a “commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America’s children, keep our schools safe, and reduce the threat of violence across our country.”

“Families are scared, and it is our duty to come together and get something done that will help restore their sense of safety and security in their communities,” the statement continued.

“Most importantly, our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.”

Still, Halden was disappointed to see the ban on assault weapons and expanded background checks missing from the plan.

“We think until lawmakers have the will to do that, these mass shootings are going to continue,” she said.

Weiler said he always likes to see lawmakers on either side of the aisle working together.

“While I welcome those efforts — I think we should be having those discussions — I’m not sure it’s going to be a game-changer.”

He said, “Ultimately, I think this is a decision that’s going to be decided by the states on a state-by-state level.”

But he wasn’t sure how big of a priority gun control would be in the state legislature by the time they are back in session at the beginning of 2023.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The crowd gathering at Washington Square to march to the Utah Capitol....
Brittany Tait

Crowd marched to Utah State Capitol in solidary with Iran

A large crowd marched from Washington Square to the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Saturday to show solidarity for those suffering in Iran.
1 day ago
Attendees at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center....
Michael Houck & Ladd Egan

Day One of 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Tens of thousands gathered in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday for the 192nd Semi-annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteers help clean up and repair the aftermath of Hurricane Ia...
Mike Anderson

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Ian

"As horrible as natural disasters are, you see the best of humanity," Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members gather in Florida to help clean up the mess Hurricane Ian left behind.
1 day ago
Denali Stubbs, preparing his bike for the upcoming race....
Alex Cabrero

Hildale high school bike team participates in regional race

"I just want to do the same for these kids:” a Hillside parent hopes to encourage teens in his community to dream bigger by getting involved in sports.
1 day ago
Authorities responding to the fatal rollover crash. (UDOT)...
Michael Houck

Two dead after pickup truck crashes into ravine near I-215

Authorities are investigating a rollover crash that killed two of its occupants on I-215 near 1000 South Saturday afternoon. 
1 day ago
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual Gene...
Josh Ellis

President Nelson addresses using chair during conference talk

President Russell M. Nelson took to social media after Latter-day Saints noticed he used a chair to deliver his remarks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
Mixed reaction in Utah to bipartisan gun proposal