Utah lawmakers address school violence following Florida shooting


Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – As the legislative session comes down the stretch, state lawmakers are turning their attention to school safety.

In the wake of the Florida massacre, Utah lawmakers say they want to take steps now, before it happens here.

“This issue has come up, and then sort of gone away for a lot of people and I think we are at a critical point where people are willing to take action,” said Representative Mike Kennedy, (R) Alpine.

That includes Utah’s Capitol Hill.

“Incredibly disturbing to all of us. The best prevention is for all of us to look for opportunities and tools to stop these kinds of things before they start,” said Representative Steve Handy, (R) Layton.

Handy is sponsoring a bill called the Extreme Risk Protective Order.

It would create a court approved process to remove guns from a troubled individual.

Someone like the Florida shooter, who reportedly showed all the signs.

“The individual would be required to get treatment, to get assistance, to get help. And, it would be a short duration of time, like two weeks and then it would continue to be revisited,” said Handy.

Representative Mike Kennedy is leading efforts to form a committee to examine all angles of the issue.

He calls it the dream team, made up of a member of the state school board, a teacher, high school students, mental heath experts, members of law enforcement, a gun rights advocate and more.

“As soon as you propose an idea everyone says why that idea won’t work. I don’t want this committee to work like that. So, I want them in a room, locked in together and just share all of the ideas. And then, all of us together try to figure out which ideas are most functional, useful and potentially going to make a difference on this important issue,” said Kennedy.

Representative Handy hopes to get a committee hearing for his bill this week.

Representative Kennedy plans to unveil his task force this Thursday.

Due to the lack of time left in this session, any suggestions from the committee will likely have to be addressed in a special session.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...