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Live Mic: Dem seeks universal background checks on almost all gun sales

Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, talks during a press conference for Latino Media Day at the Capitol as the State Legislature begins its session on Jan. 28, 2013. Photo: Deseret News File

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly 90 percent of Americans support expanding universal background checks to all firearms sales.1

As the Utah Legislature began its annual session,  Salt Lake City Rep. Brian King wasn’t wasting any time: He wants Utahns to debate his bill that would require background checks on virtually all gun purchases.

The Democrat legislator joined Lee Lonsberry on his show Live Mic to discuss the merits of his legislation (H.B. 0109).

Even at gun shows, King said vendors who sell a certain amount of firearms must provide background checks.

Details of King’s bill

King described his bill as a modest, reasonable extension of the process of selling guns that is already in place for the majority of firearm sales. He said his bill would require people who are not licensed to sell guns to perform a background check on all gun sales.

“I’m a gun owner myself,” said King. “The Supreme Court has made it clear we all have an individual right to bear arms. I am not trying to change the law.”

King said he wants to advance his bill out of the various legislative committees so that the public can have its say.

“If people want to come and oppose it, I’m fine with that,” he said.

King said his bill is no magic solution to gun violence, saying if it could bring about fewer gun deaths than it would be worth doing.

Lee asked King if he knew of any cases in which a person who should not have possessed a gun under the law used a firearm to commit a crime.

“Are you legislating the hypothetical?” Lee asked.

King cited the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in 2017 that left 26 church-goers dead.

The Air Force failed six times to submit records to the FBI that would have barred Devin Patrick Kelley, a troubled former airman, from buying the guns he used in the Nov. 12, 2017, shooting at the church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a Pentagon inspector general’s report concluded, according to the Washington Post.

Background checks for Internet sales

King said if universal background checks could prevent 10 percent to 15 percent of mass shootings, then “We’ve accomplished something good at very limited costs,” he said.

The lawmaker added that his bill would include a background-check exemption for intra-family transfers of weapons.

But he said he would work to require checks on all private online firearm sales.

“I don’t have a problem with people buying guns on the Internet,” he said, “but I do think it’s reasonable to say that they should go through the background check process.”

Related stories:

OPINION: Background checks for all gun show sales likely to face challenge

Salt Lake County requires background checks for purchases at gun shows (updated)

US mass shooters exploited gaps, errors in background checks

President Trump says he wants background check laws, also reassures NRA

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1According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 89 percent of Americans support expanding federal background checks to cover private sales and gun-show transactions. Both measures are supported by at least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households and other traditionally conservative groups.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.