Anti-Gun Utah Lawmaker's 'Psychological' Reasons Insufficient

Anti-Gun Utah Lawmaker's 'Psychological' Reasons Insufficient

There are facts, and there are feelings.

Most of the time, those who are driven by feelings at least admit they drive them. They’ll think you’re a cold, unfeeling bastard because you believe people should have to get a job. You’re heartless because you think people should come to this country legally — things like that.


However, sometimes a lawmaker will try to act like their feelings are something else, and that’s what happened in Utah recently.

You see, a measure was defeated that would have made it illegal to openly carry a firearm within 500 feet of a school. Now, that’s about a tenth of a mile, but some lawmakers thought that was reasonable. Others disagreed.

A bill that would prohibit people from openly carrying a gun within 500 feet of any K-12 school in Utah was defeated in committee Wednesday after complaints from gun lobbyists and Republican lawmakers.

It would punish hunters, one man argued. It would put more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners than convicted sex offenders, said another. It wouldn’t stop a would-be school shooter anyway, suggested a third.

Currently, Utah law blocks the open carry — but not concealed carry — of a gun inside any elementary, middle or high school. But outside, it’s allowed. The state Legislature passed a measure in 2011 that removed the 1,000-foot gun-free zone around schools for people to carry a firearm openly.

Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, the sponsor of HB217, proposed the 500-foot buffer in his bill as a compromise.

“Right now, a gun could be walked up to the front door of a school,” he said Wednesday. “This is one limit I think is reasonable.”

Briscoe has said the proposal would make schools “psychologically more secure,” particularly after the Florida shooting reignited the national outcry for gun restrictions and more schools have held lockdowns out of renewed fear.


Apparently, “psychologically more secure” is grounds for restricting the free exercise of a constitutional right rather than a blatant euphemism for “feelings.”

Look, I don’t doubt that students may not feel particularly secure in their schools. However, it has nothing to do with gun laws. Instead, it has to do with the media narrative that without new gun laws, all these kids are going to die.

The truth is that if you look at all school shootings in this country–and I mean actual school shootings–and compare them with the number of people killed in car crashes you’ll find just how much more likely you are to die in a car. The numbers of school shootings are outpaced by auto fatalities in pretty much any given state you want to name.

School kids feel unsafe because of a media narrative that continues to drive its way into American discourse that they’re unsafe. They’re not.

Restricting the rights of people because of feelings is ridiculous. Especially since there’s nothing in this proposal that would stop a school shooter. Nothing at all.

But it would stop the guy who lives across the street from the school from being able to go hunting. It would stop the guy down the block from openly carrying while he cuts the grass. Those are the people it would really stop.


If students need to be made to feel “psychologically more secure,” then maybe anti-gun lawmakers could stop pretending that they’re all doomed for a change.

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