Utah state Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, announced on Wednesday that he opened a bill file to raise the minimum age for buying a gun in Utah from 18 to 21.
Kitchen’s proposed change to Utah law comes after the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children in an elementary school and two of their teachers. The shooter was 18 years old.
“Here in the United States with our gun violence issue, it’s time for us to take action. And this legislation that I’m working on is a very simple bill that should get bipartisan support,” Kitchen told The Salt Lake Tribune during a podcast interview.
“It’s common-sense legislation that’s been designed to keep Utahns safe,” said Kitchen.
A news release from Kitchen’s office said that 21 out of the 26 school shootings that happened so far in 2022 were committed by someone under the age of 21.
A poll from Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics in 2021 found that 65% of Utahns support universal background checks, but the Utah Legislature hasn’t moved to adopt them. In fact, last session the Legislature passed a law that prevented Salt Lake City and other local governments from requiring background checks for private sellers at gun shows.
“Right now you have an obstructionist Republican supermajority that refuses to take action. This is an opportunity for them to get on board and protect our communities,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen is running for reelection and faces Dr. Jen Plumb in the Democratic primary in June.