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Gov. Herbert Calls For 'Open And Frank' Discussion On Gun Control Measures

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After a rash of mass shootings last month, Gov. Gary Herbert said Wednesday all gun control measures should be on the table for discussion.

Speaking at his monthly KUED news conference, the governor specifically mentioned proposals such as expanded background checks and age limits. He also brought up extreme risk protection orders, or “red flag” laws, which allow law enforcement to temporarily confiscate the weapons of someone deemed a danger to themselves or others.

“I think all of those things are going to be at the heart of the discussion,” Herbert said, adding that “we need to take some action.”

Two of the measures Hebert mentioned – background checks and a red flag law – were proposed in the Utah Legislature earlier this year. Neither bill was given a public hearing.

Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, has said he plans to reintroduce the red flag bill in 2020 for the third year in a row.

The governor said violence in video games and movies should bear some of the blame for mass shootings.

“I think all those things ought to be talked about and discussed in an open and frank manner and see if we can’t change the culture in which we seem to find ourselves in today where violence is just an acceptable part of life,” Herbert said.“I think there is a sense of frustration about why is it happening and what can we do to prevent it.” 

The governor made similar calls for discussion of gun control measures since last year, when he also said he had let his NRA membership expire and criticized the organization as “heavy handed.”

The governor applauded President Donald Trump for banning the sale of bump stocks following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, where 58 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded. The device modifies firearms to allow them to fire rapidly.

Immigration rule

Herbert also trashed the federal government for its treatment of immigrants and for letting decades pass without passing substantial immigration reform.

Earlier Wednesday, the Trump administration announced that it plans to withdraw from the Flores settlement, a longstanding agreement from a federal court case that limited detention of migrant children to 20 days. 

“A pox on both sides of the aisle because they use (immigration) for political purpose rather than solve the problem,” he said. “It’s all about politics and the nation suffers and the people that want to come to America – and you can see the attraction – are punished in the process, too.”

Herbert has long called for compassionate treatment of immigrants, whom he said want to come to the United States for freedom and opportunity. 

“These are human beings,” he said. “They ought to be treated humanely, whether they’re here for a short time or a long time.”

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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