KSL INVESTIGATES

Utah bill would boost penalties for DV offenders violating gun restrictions

Feb 12, 2024, 6:50 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2024, 7:15 am

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah lawmaker says she’s concerned about domestic violence killings in the state and wants to help protect those most at risk.

“Every single one is such a tragedy,” Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, said of Utahns killed in their own homes. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

The Provo Republican wants the law to come down harder on domestic violence offenders illegally holding on to their guns. She points out that current Utah law has stiffer penalties for someone caught with a firearm while on probation for drug possession.

“We do want to protect people’s Second Amendment rights, but people do things that cause them to lose those rights every day,” Judkins said.

Her pending legislative proposal would bump up potential prison time for Utahns violating weapons restrictions tied to their felony domestic violence convictions or because of a current protective order involving an intimate partner or child.

These violations are a third-degree felony, carrying up to five years in prison. Judkins’ bill would raise them to a second-degree felony, with one to 15 years in prison.

Some criminal defense attorneys have pushed back on the measure, saying the current restrictions go far enough.

“Increasing penalties is one of the least effective methods of deterrence,” said Steve Burton with the Utah Defense Attorney Association.

One solution could be to focus on awareness for defendants convicted of certain crimes, Burton said, and emphasize that those convictions mean they can’t lawfully keep their guns.

Judkin’s proposal would make another change, reducing the penalty for undocumented Utahns found in possession of a gun.

“I thought that was appropriate if you have not proven yourself to be a danger to society,” Judkins said.

Prosecutor Ryan Robinson, who helped Judkins craft the bill, said he hopes it reminds police that enforcing these domestic violence gun restrictions is a priority.

“I think as much as educating offenders that they shouldn’t have firearms, it’s reminding our local law enforcement that this deserves resources,” said Robinson, the chief prosecuting attorney for West Valley City. “It deserves detective work, it deserves search warrants – the things that you do for serious cases that you may not have the resources to do for every case.”

Police spend more time and energy on more serious crimes, he noted, so if the bill passes, they’ll likely focus more heavily on these cases. Judkins said the added attention can only help.

“I truly believe it would save lives,” she said.

The bill has not yet had a hearing at the state Capitol.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.


If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

KSL 5 TV Live

KSL Investigates

Judge in robes sits in courtroom...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public gets to see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

A judge sided with KSL, finding the Utah Attorney General’s work calendar is a record the public has a right to see.

15 hours ago

FILE: Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shoppi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Utah family says their bank refuses to reimburse fraudulent charges

A Taylorsville family says a hacker drained thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts and left them overdrawn by tens of thousands more. They thought federal banking rules protected them, but they say their bank has refused to reimburse them for those losses.

1 day ago

Judge Patrick Corum hears arguments about Attorney General Sean Reyes’ work calendar on Monday, F...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public can see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

KSL and the Utah Attorney General’s Office squared off in court over whether the A.G.’s calendar should be publicly available.

1 day ago

(KSL TV)...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

How much should Utahns get to know about how elected officials spend their time on the clock? The question is at the center of a legal fight taking KSL to court Monday.

2 days ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

5 days ago

Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, and Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, react to a reporter’s qu...

Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

‘More secrecy’: Utah lawmakers advance bills targeting government transparency

Several bills would chip away at government transparency in Utah, including one proposal that’s a direct response to KSL’s fight for public records. A First Amendment attorney says he’s alarmed.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Utah bill would boost penalties for DV offenders violating gun restrictions