Utah bill would keep guns from people deemed a threat

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Police would be permitted to temporarily confiscate guns of those who might be a risk to others under legislation proposed in conservative Utah aimed at preventing mass shootings.

Lawmakers on Thursday also announced the formation of a task force to study ways to prevent school shootings.

“We think it’s time to act and we think it’s time to act right now,” said Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes.

The bill allowing police to temporarily confiscate guns of those deemed to be a danger is similar to proposals in several states following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.

Rep. Steve Handy, who is sponsoring the measure, said details of the legislation would be announced later Thursday

The newly announced Utah School Safety Commission includes education, public safety, mental health and gun rights groups, but no elected officials or gun-control advocates.

Rep. Mike Kennedy, who formed the committee, said he would consider adding gun-control advocates, but that no one had suggested that to him. He said those with expertise should be the best ones to propose solutions.

“Everything’s on the table,” regarding policies the commission might consider, he said. The commission will not hold public meetings.

The Alpine Republican also said was he planning to add two high school students to the commission, and invited organizers of a planned March 24 student march against gun violence on the state capitol to nominate them.

The commission also includes gun-rights lobbyist Clark Aposhian, a chairman of the board of the Utah Shooting Sports Council. Aposhian in 2013 had to surrender his own weapons after he was arrested for backing up a military-grade vehicle briefly at his ex-wife’s home and allegedly telling her husband, “I’ll bury you.”

He denied the allegations, but a judge temporarily suspended Aposhian’s right to possess guns or use his concealed-carry permit. Aposhian regained his weapons the following year after pleading no contest to disorderly conduct and paying a $320 fine.

Aposhian said Thursday that nothing will be off the table as the commission looks for school safety solutions. He cited his “special experience” with having his own weapons confiscated as an asset.

“We want to make sure that due process is maintained in any of our ideas or solutions to this,” he said.

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