Skip to comments.'04 legislators defend gun rights
Posted on 03/05/2004 7:58:42 PM PST by neverdem
When it comes to gun control, Utah lawmakers have a consistent track record. Each year they vote to support the Second Amendment right to bear arms and make sure only the Legislature sets public gun policy in the state.
Sen. Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, sponsored SB48, a gun bill directed at the U.(picture missing)
They didn't deviate from that pattern in 2004.
Most controversial among the gun measures this year was SB48, which wagged a disciplinary finger at the University of Utah.
The U. sued the state last year and won over its 30-year policy prohibiting students, staff and faculty from toting guns on campus. SB48 reiterates lawmakers' authority in setting gun policy, especially for public schools, colleges and universities.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had noted in a legal brief that the U. policy was in violation of the state's concealed weapons permit law, which only prohibits permit holders from taking their weapons to jails, prisons, mental institutions, airports and churches that have publicly stated or posted their bans.
"There's not much anybody in the higher education community can say about it," Commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education Rich Kendell said.
That's despite a unified stance against guns on campus, led by the U. and its long-standing policy.
Before the session ended Wednesday, SB48 went through some tweaking after both houses agreed in a conference committee that the bill needed to clarify that it will not restrict or expand private property rights. Lawmakers also added intent language stating no desire or intention to prohibit private educational institutions from making policy on their campuses.
Bill sponsor, Sen. Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, whose original intent was only to address the "University of Utah" problem, said the bill became more about personal property rights. But, in the end, he said he was pleased with the final draft that addressed that issue.
"We don't want to run over anyone's personal property rights," said Waddoups. He also said that the Legislature's administrative rules committee has met with most of the state's divisons and departments, including other state universities, to ensure that no other state entity has a unique gun policy that would conflict with the concealed weapons law. Most had no conflicts and those that did were happy to modify those policies get in compliance, he said.
In other gun legislation, lawmakers passed two house bills to trim from two to one the number of sets of fingerprints and pieces of photo identification required when applying for a concealed weapons permit.
And legislators once again squashed annual attempts by Democrats to require criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms at gun shows, and to protect kids from accidental shooting deaths by requiring the separate and locked storage of firearms and ammunition.
Rep. Judy Ann Buffmire, D-Salt Lake, sponsored HB36, requiring gun and pawn shop owners to check with the National Crime Information Center to see if a weapon offered for purchase has been stolen. But that bill also was snuffed.
Rep. Scott Daniels, D-Salt Lake, believes most people agree the state should have "reasonable" gun regulations in law.
"The only dispute is what's reasonable," he said. "It's the people at the ends of a bell curve that always control the argument."
Is there any list that's accessible to the public so a private purchaser can determine before purchase whether a particular firearm has been reported stolen?
I never heard of one.