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 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