After the unspeakable horror in Las Vegas, residents of Utah, myself included, are feeling a deep connection to the victims in Nevada. Many of us have stood where they fell and are realizing it could have been our friends, our wives, our children, or us. I think it's important that we walk the fine line between politicizing this tragedy and using it to engage in meaningful dialogue.
For our healing to move forward we need to all come together with an open mind about what happened and how to try and prevent it in the future. In the short term, I want to join the praise for the brave men and women who were first responders as well as those caught in the middle who risked their own safety to help others.
I support the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, and I exercise that right. As any responsible gun owner knows, we have to do everything within our power to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Like the rest of our Constitution, I believe the 2nd Amendment is a cornerstone of our democracy.
As we move forward,I hope to be a leader on this substantive discussion. I believe we can explore the critical issues without getting sucked into partisan bickering . As I travel the state, I will start this discussion with residents, hunters, parents and safety advocates. Not because this discussion is comfortable, but because it is not. We owe it to the people who were senselessly murdered on October 1st—and to the many who have died in mass shootings before October 1st—to consider all points and make changes.
I agree with Senator Hatch that evidence of mental health problems should be part of the instant background check made when purchasing a gun. Hatch said: “We need to keep better records. Mental health problems that indicate violent behavior ought to be part of the instant check system.” He indicated that this alone won’t solve the problem of gun use by the mentally imbalanced, and “the media has to show some restraint” in reporting on incidents of gun violence so there aren’t so many “copy-cat” crimes.
I support legislation to protect children by requiring that guns be sold with a proper storage or gun safety device. By requiring that all guns be sold with safety devices, we will reinforce responsible safety practices. No minor should ever be able to obtain unsupervised or unauthorized access to a gun.
I'm concerned about any gun modifications that turn a legal semi-automatic weapon into a de-facto illegal automatic weapon. I think bump stocks deserves a hearing in Congress to answer questions and find out how the technology works and whether legislation, or working with gun manufacturers, is the best way to move forward.
I believe in crime control through prosecution of as many local gun-related crimes in federal court as possible to take advantage of federal mandatory minimum sentences and stiff bond rules . This provision does not create additional federal crimes, but instead utilizes existing federal statutes that are not being enforced to their fullest extent.
I believe that by listening to different points of view, making common-sense changes, and standing up for our citizens and our Constitution, we can move forward from this tragedy more unified and with more resolve against evil and violence than ever before.