Utah Republican: No Support For Red Flag Laws In State

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When we think of the party supporting gun control, we tend to look at Democrats. Why wouldn’t we? However, it should be noted that one measure–red flag laws–does actually enjoy bipartisan support.

A number of Republicans have voice support for red flag laws in recent years, which is troubling, to say the least.

However, at least one has now acknowledged that his state has no interest in such things.

Rep. [Stephen] Handy says he’s tried for three years to get red flag gun laws passed in the state, and he’s not planning on trying again.

“I tried it for three years. I just don’t think there’s the political will in the state of Utah to pass one of these bills regrettably, so I’m not going to be bringing it back anytime soon… it’s just too high of a hurdle. It doesn’t have the support.”

He says he thinks it would only take something horrific for the public to rise up and fight for these laws, but he hopes and prays nothing like that ever happens.

“I thought that it’s a common sense approach to deescalating and to help with suicides,’ he explains.

But Rep. Handy still thinks these are discussions worth having.

“We should have these discussion because everyone has to start out and say, there are some people who should not have access to firearms. That’s proven over and over again. So let’s look at a methodical, common sense, legal way to temporarily remove them. Get these people help so we can stop the mayhem,” he states.

Of course, Handy fails to note that two out of three of our recent highest-profile shootings–Boulder and Indianapolis–were in states that had red flag laws and both shooters illustrated some worrying tendencies before they started killing people, yet those measures just didn’t seem to do a damn thing.

I get the idea that you want to address suicides, but Utah already has laws that let family members address that. More importantly, though, it takes the suicidal person and removes them from all means of suicide, not just one. While I’m not a fan of involuntary commitment, we have to admit that it’s been around a lot longer and is likely to do far more good.

What red flag laws do is focus exclusively on a single tool, treating it like the boogieman and ignoring the very real cries for help that may exist that have nothing to do with a firearm.

Plus, there’s also the fact that these laws create a due process concern. They take guns from people who then have to prove they’re not a threat to anyone. While it can be done, that’s still not how our legal system is meant to work.

I’m glad Handy is giving up on this one. As I don’t live in Utah, I don’t know if he’s an otherwise decent lawmaker or not, but I know that this fixation with red flag laws isn’t good and I’m glad the rest of Utah opted to stand its ground on this kind of thing.

Oct 20, 2021 5:30 PM ET