Gov. Spencer Cox shares thoughts on gun laws, school safety, Utah’s economy

Gov. Spencer Cox. Image: Screengrab/Spencer Cox Facebook page

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 16, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Spencer Cox told reporters Thursday that gun control is a complex issue, and he’s waiting to see what legislation national lawmakers approve, and trying to keep an open mind.

“This is this is obviously a very contentious debate, and has been for some time,” he said. “Let me just say that what happened in Uvalde is just unthinkably unspeakable. It’s horrendous. I can’t get those images out of my head, like many of you.”

Cox said he knows someday he may have to face grieving Utah parents in the aftermath of a school shooting.

“The odds are that it will happen here in the state of Utah someday,” Cox said. He could not imagine facing survivors unless he knew “we tried to do something.”

Cox said he feels positive about the Safe Utah app that lets children report weapons sights or rumors of violence threats. It also allows children to request help if they are having emotional problems.

Cox said he is open to discussing red flag laws, although it’s also important to preserve the first Amendment right to bear arms.

“I’ve talked to legislative leadership and individual legislators that I’ve had the chance to discuss this with. What I’ve asked them is to please keep an open mind. Just kind of eliminate any prior biases and let’s let’s have a conversation and see if there are some things that we can come together on.”

Cox said he has a hard time listening to people who say the issue is only about guns or only about mental health.

“It’s not like we haven’t talked about this or worked on this or actually passed legislation on this in the past,” he said. “We’ve had significant funding for security measures around schools and planning processes and improving infrastructure in schools…. Most schools in the state of Utah have different security procedures now than they had even five or six years ago. So we have made significant progress.”

Cox said he does support measures including providing gun locks for those who purchase guns. He also supports penalties for those who do not secure their guns when the firearms are subsequently used in crimes.

Cox also addressed more issues, including Utah’s economy, possible strategies regarding gas high prices, and what he characterized Pres. Joe Biden’s resistance to increasing refining capacity in the United States.

View Cox’s full comments below.

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