Is this the beginning of guns being removed from citizens, or is it a smart step to protecting people from mentally unstable people?
SALT LAKE CITY ‚ÄĒ 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 Pitcher‚Äôs HB121 creates a ‚Äúsafe harbor‚ÄĚ where people can voluntarily surrender their firearms to local police for up to 60 days.
‚ÄúYou can deposit the gun, short term, to get through an emergency,‚ÄĚ said Pitcher, R-Ogden. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs what the safe harbor bill does for firearms.‚ÄĚ
Pitcher said police would register the gun and keep it safe.
‚ÄúIt provides a platform if there‚Äôs emergencies in a family ‚ÄĒ let‚Äôs say there‚Äôs somebody who feels like they‚Äôre suicidal or they have someone with a mental illness or a mental dispute or some type of emergency,‚ÄĚ said Pitcher. ‚ÄúUnder the conditions we have right now, this is a good time to get the firearm out of the house.‚ÄĚ
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 shooter‚Äôs mother had been able to get her guns out of the home, like his bill would do.
‚ÄúIt saves lives,‚ÄĚ he said.
Clark Aposhian of the Utah Shooting Sports Council said he liked the bill ‚Äúin concept,‚ÄĚ but said he had concerns with the bill. He wanted to ensure that no one was surrendering someone else‚Äôs firearm. Pitcher said his bill would not allow police to accept someone else‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúLet‚Äôs see if we can get something in the statute that yes, protects someone who may be temporarily despondent and shouldn‚Äôt have access to a firearm, but protects their rights as well,‚ÄĚ he said.
HB121 is expected to have a hearing in the coming weeks