SALT LAKE CITY â€” A new bill being considered in the Utah State Legislature would let people get guns out of their homes to avoid incidences of gun violence.
Rep. Dixon Pitcherâ€™s HB121 creates a â€śsafe harborâ€ť where people can voluntarily surrender their firearms to local police for up to 60 days.
â€śYou can deposit the gun, short term, to get through an emergency,â€ť said Pitcher, R-Ogden. â€śThatâ€™s what the safe harbor bill does for firearms.â€ť
Pitcher said police would register the gun and keep it safe.
â€śIt provides a platform if thereâ€™s emergencies in a family â€” letâ€™s say thereâ€™s somebody who feels like theyâ€™re suicidal or they have someone with a mental illness or a mental dispute or some type of emergency,â€ť said Pitcher. â€śUnder the conditions we have right now, this is a good time to get the firearm out of the house.â€ť
Pitcher said the bill came out of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. The Ogden lawmaker wondered if circumstances could have changed if the shooterâ€™s mother had been able to get her guns out of the home, like his bill would do.
â€śIt saves lives,â€ť he said.
Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council said he liked the bill â€śin concept,â€ť but said he had concerns with the bill. He wanted to ensure that no one was surrendering someone elseâ€™s firearm. Pitcher said his bill would not allow police to accept someone elseâ€™s gun.
Aposhian said he also had concerns about a provision in the bill that allowed police to keep the firearm if it went unclaimed after a certain period of time.
â€śLetâ€™s see if we can get something in the statute that yes, protects someone who may be temporarily despondent and shouldnâ€™t have access to a firearm, but protects their rights as well,â€ť he said.
HB121 is expected to have a hearing in the coming weeks
I think this is a good idea. Utah is pretty conservative in it's views regarding guns so of course they are going to want to provide citizens with these privileges without stripping them of their rights.