While the national debate over the proper course of gun control continues to rage, one Utah lawmaker is trying to head off an avenue of the debate before it can even start.
Currently, the ATF (Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) is prohibited by law from creating a national registry of gun purchases and firearms permits. Opponents of the restriction, including many law enforcement agencies, argue that it prevents law officers from tracking down the sources of illegal firearms. It is estimated that a high percentage of illegal weapons could be traced back to a handful of gun dealers, and law enforcement agencies have long complained that they are unable to perform their duties and stop the flow of illegal weapons because of the ban on a registry.
The creation of a national registry has been a hot topic on the national scene, while proponents argue that it’s common sense for law enforcement agencies to know where an illegal gun came from, and opponents argue that law enforcement agencies will seize legal weapons if a database were to be created.
Freshman Representative Jacob Anderegg (Republican, Lehi), is proposing a bill that would draw a clear line in the sand, saying that Utah is not in favor of such a registry. HB317, Protection Of Concealed Firearm Permit, makes it a felony for anyone in Utah to share concealed firearm permit information with any “office, department, division, or other agency of the federal government.”
Similar to Republican Representative Brian Greene’s gun law, which has already been declared unconstitutional by the Legislature’s attorneys, Representative Anderegg’s HB317 would immediately be overturned if Congress were to pass a law creating a national registry.
This is a great example of why everyone needs to take a big breathe and perhaps a step back on guns. If overreactions are driving the debate, neither side is well-served, and in the end we’re left without any solutions at all.
Republican Governor Gary Herbert agrees, telling the press that everyone needs to calm down:
“I think it’s just time to count to 10 and be a little more thoughtful about this,” the governor said. “Don’t let emotions get in the way of rational thought. Let’s make sure that we do things that are reasonable and practical and really give us a good end result.”
Utah lawmakers may not want to admit it, but they are ultimately impotent when it comes to gun laws. As much as many on Utah’s Capitol Hill try to deny it, federal gun laws are a minimum, not a maximum. Utah does not have the authority or the power to go below federal standards, and the only result of their continuing push to do so are court battles that we lose and a waste of millions in taxpayer dollars.
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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