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Gov. Gary Herbert Says More School Counselors, Background Checks Could Prevent Gun Violence

Screenshot / KUED

After the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, everything is on the table when it comes to reducing gun violence in Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday.

State lawmakers, mostly Democrats, have already filed a handful of bill requests for 2019 dealing with gun safety measures like universal background checks, safe storage requirements and red flag laws.

"I support the discussion on all of the above,” Herbert said at his monthly KUED news conference.

“Most everybody agrees we ought to have significant and comprehensive background checks. Most everybody agrees that there are people that should not have in their possession a firearm,” including people with certain mental health issues or a history of domestic violence or other criminal activity.

I think we need to talk about better counseling in our schools, and better parenting. I know we'll have people who will say, 'pooh-pooh that,' and say, 'that's not the solution.' It's probably not the solution but it is a part of the solution. — Gov. Gary Herbert

But Herbert repeatedly turned the issue back to school safety and mental health, saying there isn’t one perfect solution to reducing gun violence.

“I think we need to talk about better counseling in our schools,” Herbert said, and “better parenting. I know we’ll have people who will say, ‘pooh-pooh that,’ and say, ‘that’s not the solution.’ It’s probably not the solution but it is a part of the solution.”

Herbert said Utah has been proactive to address the problem. After 17 people were killed in a Florida school shooting in February, the state created a school safety commission to examine how to better ensure student safety as school shootings increase.

The governor also said while he was a member of the NRA in the past, he believes his membership has expired.

Herbert said he supports the NRA’s mission to protect the Second Amendment but found its lobbying tactics to be too “heavy handed.”

Herbert also touched on the medical marijuana ballot initiative, national anthem protests by professional athletes, and the breakdown in negotiations over the planned inland port in Salt Lake City.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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