Gun liability bill stalls in committee for second time this session

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A bill that would increase liability for gun owners if their gun is used in a violent crime gets a second shot at the Capitol.

Monday morning, it had a second committee hearing but the end result was the same.

After falling short in the House Law Enforcement Committee, House Bill 109, sponsored by Representative Andrew Stoddard got a second chance with the House Judiciary Committee.

He says he wants to send a message about responsible gun ownership.

“For the people who are not doing that, who are recklessly or negligently loaning out their guns, we want to make sure they are responsible for whatever happens once that gun leaves their hands,” said Stoddard, (D) Sandy.

His bill would open those people up to civil liability.

It’s also known as “Lauren’s Law,” in response to the murder of Lauren McClusky on the campus at the University of Utah.

“In that situation, an irresponsible gun owner loaned out his gun that was used in a homicide. Currently, there is no way for the victims family to seek any sort of redress against that gun owner,” said Stoddard.

Clark Aposhian with the Utah Shooting Sports Council is fighting that notion.

“This bill seeks to extract justice in dollar signs from someone who only may have had a tangential association with the criminal,” said Aposhian.

Others lined up in support of the bill.

Erin Jemison with the YWCA of Utah says the state needs to take steps like this to keep guns away from those who are intent on harming others.

“We have an issue in this state with domestic violence homicide. Over 40 percent of homicides in this state are domestic violence,” Jemison said.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee came to the same conclusion as their colleagues on the first committee and voted to hold the bill.

Even though the bill is not moving forward this session, Representative Stoddard says he was encouraged by the discussion and some of the ideas he got to help improve the bill.

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