GOV. LEAVITT RIGHT TO SIGN FIREARMS LEGISLATION SAYS GUN RIGHTS GROUP

Thursday, March 20th, 2003

BELLEVUE, WA – Gov. Mike Leavitt made the right decision in signing legislation that clarifies an ambiguity in Utah’s concealed carry statute, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron said Gov. Leavitt did the responsible thing by signing SB108, which makes a common-sense clarification in the law for legally armed citizens, while also providing churches wider latitude in prohibiting firearms inside their sanctuaries.

“This was the sensible thing to do, and it is a victory for Utah’s law-abiding gun owners,” Waldron observed. “Gov. Leavitt properly, and courageously, looked beyond the specious arguments against this legislation from anti-gun groups, and even his own personal opposition to guns on school campuses. Utah citizens, not just armed citizens, owe the governor thanks for clarifying the law, and acting in its best interest.”

Waldron dismissed predictions that this legislation will somehow threaten the safety of school students and staff. Utah statute already allows legally-licensed citizens to carry their concealed handguns onto school campuses and into school buildings. SB108 simply clarified that another law, banning “dangerous materials” on campus did not apply to those law-abiding citizens.

“There have been no instances of legally-licensed gun owners harming anyone or even posing a threat on a school campus anywhere in the country,” Waldron stated. “Quite the opposite, in fact, is true. When Peter Odighizuwa went on a rampage at a Virginia law school last year, he was apprehended by an armed student, Tracy Bridges. When teenage gunman Luke Woodham murdered two students and shot seven others at Pearl High School in Mississippi in 1997, he was stopped at gunpoint by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick.

“Law-abiding gun owners are not, and never have been, a problem on school campuses,” Waldron continued. “Indeed, they’ve been heroes. They, along with other parents and even the school administrators and teachers who opposed the legislation, deserved to have this issue clarified. Gov. Leavitt didn’t do the so-called ‘gun lobby’ a favor, he did everyone a favor by signing this bill.”