'Safe harbor' gun bill on its way to governor
The Senate passed a gun measure Wednesday that would allow people under emotional duress to voluntarily store their firearms at local police stations as a way to diffuse potentially volatile situations in a home.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, sponsored HB121 in the Senate, and it faced little debate on the floor before it passed 21-4.
Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, said he first thought of the measure shortly after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 first-grade students including Ogden native Emilie Parker were gunned down by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn.
Pitcher said he'd heard on an episode of "Frontline" about how Lanza's mother had grown concerned about her son's mental state and he wondered if things would've been different if the guns could've been removed from the House.
The measure would allow the owner of a gun or a spouse who co-owned the firearm to check the firearm into a local police station for 60 days no questions asked for safe-keeping.
Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said she liked the bill as a potential safeguard against an escalating danger in a home.
"It lets families and emotions settle down," she said.
The proposal was supported by a wide-range of groups, including the Utah Shooting Sports Council.
"It is a good first step to provide an option for safe-keeping during an unusual circumstance and exigent times for people that lack a support base of help from a neighborhood or church," USSC Chairman Clark Aposhian said.
It passed in the House in February 44-28.