A newly released pre-legislative survey commissioned by the Exoro Group and conducted by Dan Jones & Associates found that:
- 59% of Utahns support allowing Utah teachers and full-time school personnel to arm themselves with firearms while at school.
- 82% of respondents believe that parents have the right to know if their child’s school teacher is carrying a concealed weapon. The poll did not ask how this information would be used by parents. For example would parents withdraw a child from a class where the teacher is armed or would they ask for their child to be placed in a class where the teacher is armed?
- 75% said that the most recent shootings in Connecticut did not cause them to change their views on gun regulations and laws. It did not ask those who changed their views if the change was in favor of less or of more gun control.
- 54% of those surveyed oppose stricter gun laws in Utah; 35% favor stricter laws.
Gun control groups consistently rank Utah’s gun control laws as among the weakest in the nation.
- In 2011, the Brady Campaign gave Utah a zero on its score card leaving Utah tied with Alaska and Arizona for the nation’s weakest gun laws .
- The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives Utah an “F” when it comes to gun laws.
- When PoliticIT combined research results from a number of sources to produce a ranking of states with the strictest gun laws, Utah was ranked 50th signifying that it has the least restrictive gun laws in the nation.
There are currently no gun control bills filed for the 2013 legislative session which begins on January 28. There are, however, a number of bills to make Utah’s laws less restrictive.
- HB76 would allow individuals over 21 years of age to carry concealed weapons without a permit as long as they hadn’t been convicted of a felony and did not carry on school campuses.
- HB268 clarifies and confirms that merely displaying a dangerous weapon in public without other behavior is not disorderly conduct.
- Not Numbered. This bill gives local police the authority to arrest federal agents should they try to seize firearms in Utah.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Association, which includes 28 of Utah’s 29 county sheriffs, drafted a letter to President Obama advising him that they will protect the 2nd Amendment rights of their citizens. They wrote:
We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But, make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights—in particular Amendment II—has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.
Most Utahns appear to be satisfied with the state’s gun laws and oppose federal actions that would limit their 2nd Amendment rights. Utahns who support strong gun rights would tend to agree with a PoliticIT analysis which states, “It appears that gun laws have little to no effect on the reduction of murders by firearms, holding other variables constant.”