An attempt to make cock-fighting a felony in Utah failed in the House Thursday morning amid concerns it would unnecessarily fill up prisons and possibly also keep people from being future gun owners.
The bill, SB52, was sponsored by Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, after he learned that all the states surrounding Utah make cock-fighting a felony. In Utah it’s currently a misdemeanor offense. Davis said he carried the legislation to prevent Utah from becoming a magnet for game-fowl fighting.
Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville, said it was a way to tamp down other activities surrounding fowl fighting — namely gambling.
The measure failed 28-39.
Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, said upping the penalties for game-fowl fighting to a felony would prevent a person from owning a gun later down the road. Greene promoted a gun bill that would seek to have Utah firearms laws trump federal gun laws.
“As a convicted felon, you’re forever barred from owning guns,” he said.
And Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, said he wasn’t in a hurry to fill jails up with people who raise roosters to fight.
“We’re going to take someone’s life away from them for a year if they get into this ridiculous arena of cock fighting?” he asked rhetorically.