Sadly, we live in a world where the threat of gun violence is all too real. From mass shootings to a drunken brawl, these deadly weapons have become engraved into our culture. Because of this cultural attitude towards guns, there becomes a sort of feedback loop wherein people first feel threatened by guns, go out and purchase their own to protect themselves from said guns, only to scare another individual to do the same.
This article, however, is not about having more or less guns on the street, this about is trying to reduce the real (or perceived) threat that guns present in our state. More specifically, this is about how Representative Paul Ray (R – Clearfiled, District 13) is not helping the situation.
Representative Ray is introducing HB 268 – Disorderly Conduct Amendments – this session, much to the chagrin of those who are fearful of weapons in general and guns in particular. HB 258 would allow people to openly walk around in public with a gun (or other dangerous weapon) in clear view without violation of the law.
First, we should ask ourselves why Ray wishes to propose such a law in this climate. Presumably he is coming from the mindset that states “people won’t go on mass shooting sprees if they know someone has a gun and could stop it. Unfortunately, we feel he is not considering the fact that the mere presence of a gun causes unease among the general public – demonstrated by the fact that the bill outright says, “The otherwise lawful possession of a dangerous weapon…does not constitute a hazardous or physically offensive condition, threatening behavior, or cause for public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm…”
Ray seems to be under the impression that we still live in a wild west-type environment, where the only way to protect ourselves is to be packing heat. Ray, it appears wishes to deal with the problem of gun violence by putting more people on edge – calling these people on edge “sissies,” and overall not deal with the problem. This mindset is irresponsible and, frankly, uncivilized. The proposal is highly unlikely to prevent mass shootings, nor do anything to prevent an enraged bar fight from getting out of hand – what it does do is give the impression that we fear our neighbor.
Think, too, about the impact this law would have to those visiting our state. Do we really want people reporting back that Utah is so crazy and violent that people feel the need to openly walk around with a gun or knife strapped to their bodies?
We as a society should be better than this, we should fear those who openly walk around with dangerous weapons because, if this bill were to pass, it would speak to how we have accepted violence as the norm and that the only solution to the problem is more intimidation. Let us instead listen to the sound advice and recommendations law enforcement agencies have nearly unanimously recommended, and continue to focus our efforts on keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, giving the individuals who are a threat to society the treatment they need.
To contact Rep. Ray, Click Here or call 801-725-2719
Impact on Average Utahn:
High Impact 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 No Impact
Necessary 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 Unnecessary
Great Bill 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5 Poor Bill