Gun control advocates claim that violence is a significant problem and so we need gun control to address those problems. Gun rights advocates argue that no, violent crime is actually low, particular when compared to the heyday of the assault weapon ban during the 1990s.
Recently, a Utah gun rights advocate laid it all out during a television interview, one that I suspect is bound to rustle the proverbial jimmies of a whole lot of gun grabbers out there.
Opponents to a series of proposed gun control laws in Utah say lawmakers are proposing a solution to problems that don’t exist.
“In Utah, we have one of the highest rates of firearm ownership, very, very little restrictions on firearms, we’re a very permissive state,” Utah Shooting Sports Council Chairman Clark Aposhian told “Fox & Friends First” Monday. “Yet we have one of the lowest homicide and violent crime rates, even with a firearm, in the country, so what we’re asking for is to fix a problem that isn’t there.”
To be clear, Aposhian is talking specifically about Utah and he’s right, the state does have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation. In fact, it has the ninth-lowest violent crime rate in the nation.
And it’s especially interesting when one opts to look at just how anti-gun voices in Utah want to address the issue.
The proposed legislation includes House Bill 109, which calls for universal background checks for firearm purchases; H.B. 115, where custodians can be found liable for damage caused by someone else using their firearm; H.B. 136, which would make it a criminal offense if a firearm is stored in a place that the gun owner knows that a minor or person legally restricted from possessing a gun has access to it and a person is injured by the minor or restricted person who used it; and H.B. 229, also known as a red flag law, which allows a family member or law enforcement to ask a court to restrain a person who may present a danger to others or themselves from possessing any firearms or ammunition for a specified length of time.
When Childers asked Aposhian what he thinks about convicted felons potentially using weapons, he answered, “Convicted felons can’t use weapons, we’ve already got existing laws.”
He added, “Felons can’t have firearms, people that make threats with firearms can’t own firearms and you can have them arrested [in Utah], so they’re talking about people that haven’t committed a crime and, you know, haven’t threatened anyone … yet they’re so apparently dangerous that they have to remove their rights to own a firearm without ever seeing a judge.”
Now, I’m not a fan of pretending that problems don’t exist simply because it’s lower there than other places. However, Aposhian is right on the whole. Violence is much less of an issue in Utah than in most other places and it’s that way with the current gun laws on the books. As we’ve seen, red flag laws don’t lead to a decrease in things like suicides, something supporters claim it’s meant to stop.
In other words, while the problems are minimal in Utah, it’s easy to argue that more can be done yet just passing laws for the sake of “doing something” doesn’t mean that something will work.
Aposhian is right and wrong. There is a problem, it’s just much less of a problem in Utah than some would like to pretend. However, he and I are in complete agreement that these bills aren’t remotely needed; not in Utah and not anywhere else in the country.