“When it comes to the interest and the safety of children, we’re always looking at that,” said Scott Jones, Utah State Office of Education deputy superintendent of business and operations. “Any program that promotes their safety is a good program.”
Utah Senate Bill 43, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, passed the Senate 22-5 then the House 55-16, was signed and approved by Gov. Gary Herbert this week. Once it becomes law on July 1st, it will provide $75,000 from the state’s education fund to the Attorney General to be allocated to public schools, including charter schools, for a firearm safety and violence prevention course. While it is on a first-come first-serve basis, this is still good news for gun safety in the state.
“The board with get the request for proposal and find a provider per the legislation. Once we have the provider, it’s up to the local districts whether they participate in the pilot program or not,” says Scott Jones, Utah State Office of Education deputy superintendent of business and operations. Jones confirmed the State Board of Education will collaborate with the Office of the Attorney General to select a provider to supply materials and curriculum for the pilot program.
“I think some conservative Republicans feared there would be an anti-gun vent to the presentation and I think some Democrats feared there would be a pro-gun vent to the presentation,” said Senator Weiler, who drafted the bill following an incident in 2014 where a 12-year-old girl lost her life when her sister accidentally shot her after she picked up a gun left in their home.
Utah students from 5th through 12th grade will be able to attend the classes statewide.