A year after a high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Utah lawmakers from both parties are pushing a slate of school safety and gun reform measures this session. But the Republican supermajority hasn’t been too eager to debate many of these proposals, including a controversial “red flag” law. This week, we discuss the status of gun bills this year and talk to a local March for Our Lives activist about what’s changed — and what hasn’t — since the Parkland massacre. To inject some levity, we also investigate the not-so-secret circus past of one Republican lawmaker.
Bills & Issues Mentioned in this Episode:
- Noah Blumenthal, outreach director for March for Our Lives Utah, says not a lot of substantive policy change has taken place in the year since the Parkland shooting.
- The full House passed a resolution stating that Utah has enough gun laws on its books and should enforce those before passing new ones.
- That could spell trouble for other gun reform proposals this session, including one by Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton that would enact a “red flag” law. That could allow families and law enforcement to seek a court order to confiscate weapons from someone who poses a threat to themselves or the public. You may remember, this bill died last session.
- Other gun control bills include two separate proposals for safe storage laws. One by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, would expand access to gun locks and gun safes in an effort to curb youth suicides.
- Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, wants to expand background checks on Utah gun sales.
- A bill by Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Midvale, drafted in response to the death of U of U student-athlete Lauren McCluskey would increase liability for firearm owners if their gun is used in a crime.
- Domestic violence bills are getting a lot of play this session, and one proposal by Rep. Sue Duckworth, D-Magna, seeks to ban anyone convicted of a domestic violence crime from owning a weapon. This would bring the state in line with federal laws.
- Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, has a bill to restrict openly carrying a weapon within 500 feet of a school, unless it’s in a home or business.
- A bill to raise safety standards at Utah trampoline parks led to a wild revelation from Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield.