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Gun bills sponsors say they will try legislation again

(Silas Walker, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s always next year. That’s what some lawmakers are saying after their gun legislation didn’t get support on Capitol Hill.  They’re looking into how they can bring those bills back.

One bill, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, was known as the “Red Flag Bill,” which would allow guns to be taken from someone who is deemed to be a threat to the public or a threat to themselves.  Handy believes there was a lot of confusion about what the bill was.

“They do not think [there is] due process that is articulated in the bill,” he said. “That is incorrect.  They think this is enabling the SWAT team in the middle of the night.  That’s not what it is at all.”

Handy adds that the bill was designed to ensure people couldn’t make false claims against someone to have their guns removed.  If that happened, it would have been a third-degree felony.

“There’s that kind of protection, too.  We have to remember that we have to have common sense.  We can always return guns, we can’t always return lives,” Handy said.

There was a lot of feedback on the matter, and Handy says he has to consider all of it before making any changes to the bill so he can reintroduce it next session.

However, there is no question about another bill that failed to make it through the Utah legislature.  Rep. Andrew Stoddard, D-Sandy, says he will definitely bring back “Lauren’s Law.”

Stoddard’s bill would hold someone liable in civil court if they loan a gun to another person who then uses it in a crime.  It was named after Lauren McCluskey, who police say was murdered by Melvin Rowland after he borrowed a friend’s gun.

“I heard everything from ‘It’s a slippery slope and you’re taking guns away,’ to, ‘It’s not broad enough.  This should be applied to anything that could be considered a weapon,” Stoddard said.

The bill was held up in the Judiciary Committee.