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No Changes Expected To Utah's Gun Laws, But Schools Could Get Stronger Locks

Julia Ritchey
Flags are at half-staff outside the Utah Capitol to honor the victims of a school shooting in Parkland. Fla.

Utah lawmakers aren’t poised to make any sweeping changes to gun laws in the wake of another fatal school shooting in the U.S.

Flags were lowered to half-staff outside the Utah Capitol and lawmakers observed a moment of silence on Thursday for the 17 victims of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

But Senate President Wayne Niederhauser told reporters that the Legislature isn’t likely to move toward more gun control.

“Short of an outlaw of all guns, you’re going to be faced with somebody that has the ability to have a weapon,” he said. “That’s a Second Amendment right. So probably the focus should be more toward trying to solve some of mental illness issues that we have.”

No major changes are proposed to Utah’s gun laws this year. But last year, lawmakers lowered the age for a concealed carry permit to anyone over 18.

On Thursday, lawmakers approved legislation that would provide an exception to building codes to allow schools to install high-security locks in case of a shooting or lockdown.

Sen. Todd Weiler, the bill’s sponsor, said the increasing frequency of school shootings means districts need flexibility to secure their buildings.

“[The] number of school shootings with active shooter situations has more than doubled over the past decade,” he said.


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