Utah has a problem. Every Republican state legislator has an 'A' grade from the NRA. A few might dislike the label, but the majority glory in it. Little wonder the Republican Legislature refuses to pass a single gun regulation, although clearly they would save lives. Putting gun rights ahead of citizens' right to life is the problem.

A huge majority of Utahns favor a universal background check for all gun sales, and a safe storage bill for all guns in the owner's absence. Yet these bills can't even make it out of committee.

NRA loyalists even killed House Bill 217, an absolute no-brainer that requires those openly carrying a weapon to stay 500 feet away from any school building. School administrators would panic and call a lockdown, scaring the hell out of little kids. Certainly someone brandishing a Glock or AR-15 would demand a response. GOP/NRA arguments against the bill were jaw-droppingly pitiful.

Unless there are enlightened changes, a vote for a Republican is a vote for a continued, scandalous death toll. In the meantime, all GOP legislators should recuse themselves from voting on any gun bill because they have a vested interest in the NRA.

Ron Molen, Salt Lake City