Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stop arbitrary gun bans near schools

Utah Representative Curt Oda has introduced HB 75 which would remove some of the more egregious restrictions on the responsible possession of firearms near schools and similar facilities.

Utah's current definition of "on or about school premises" is far too broad. Under the current definition, most gun owners have probably unintentionally violated Utah's gun-free school-zone act many times. The federal law is limited to K-12 schools, but Utah law adds day-care centers, pre-schools and vocational schools. Utah law includes a 1,000-foot "gun free zone" around each of these "schools." Thus, for example, under state law you're on "school premises" if you get within 1,000 feet of a day-care center that's operating inside a private residence, or a small cosmetology school located in a strip mall or a museum where a school class is having a field trip or even if he carries an unloaded firearm in a locked case into his own home from a car parked on the street within 1,000 feet of a daycare center. Such a bizarre law does not belong on the books anywhere.

Natural law gives us sufficient guidance as to what is inherently right and wrong. We simply do not need arbitrary laws that regulate the responsible possession and use of inanimate objects such as firearms. All such restrictions must be eliminated.

Since violent criminals have shown that they do not respect gun-free zones anyway, I would prefer that the entire law regulating guns in or near "school premises" be repealed. Failing that, HB 75 is necessary to clean up the convoluted and nonsensical definition of "school premises" that exists in the current Utah Code and to stop making criminals of innocent gun owners.

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