The Utah Legislature is considering allowing people who are legally intoxicated to use guns for self-defense in their homes.
If the Legislature believes a person is drunk for driving purposes, could that person really tell the difference between an actual intruder and a teenage daughter coming home after curfew?
Or a teenager sneaking out of the house? Or any of hundreds of innocent scenarios that an intoxicated person might run into at home?
Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, is sponsoring HB328, which would allow a person who is legally intoxicated, defined as having a 0.05 blood alcohol level and above, to operate a gun at home when it would otherwise be illegal.
Thurston says criminal defense attorneys asked him to run the bill after coming up against this “unintended consequence” of the Legislature’s change in the drunk driving BAC limit from 0.08 to 0.05.
Perhaps the “unintended consequence” of the change is that people really aren’t intoxicated at 0.05 BAC.
If the Legislature really thinks people with a 0.05 BAC limit are too intoxicated to drive, should they really be operating a gun? Is one life worth it, or not?
The American Beverage Institute has seized on the Legislature’s inconsistent messaging with a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Tribune with the headline “Too Drunk to Drive, But Sober Enough to Carry a .45?”
Thurston says his bill “does not allow an intoxicated person to carry a .45. It allows them to use a dangerous weapon for self-defense.”
He also says he doesn’t necessarily support the bill, but promised he would run a bill for unintended consequences, and that’s what he’s doing.
If he doesn’t support the bill, he shouldn’t sponsor it.
If it is safety the Legislature is after, you’d think it would prohibit cellphones while driving, which is often as dangerous as or more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. But it recently blocked a bill that would allow police to pull over a driver on a cellphone for a moving violation, so it must not be safety the lawmakers are after.
It’s curious that legislators don’t see the optics of a state that allows handling guns while intoxicated and driving while using a cellphone, but not if you’ve had one beer.
But they aren’t after optics. They don’t like drinking and they love guns.
Our legislators need to stop clinging to their guns and their religion.