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For week ended May 23, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Ban weapons at schools, UEA urges

Summarized by Eric Bunker

Ban weapons at schools, UEA urges
Deseret News 19May99 L1
By Jennifer Toomer-Cook and Bob Bernick Jr.: Deseret News staff writers

In the wake of last month's shooting at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, many have been calling for more gun control regulation in Utah, including President Hinckley.

Some education and civic groups have been calling for a special legislative session to discuss gun-violence matters. Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, and active church member, at first hesitated, but after GOP legislative leaders told three legislative committees to study the matter, the Governor asked executive branch groups to study the issue and said he was open to calling a special session if constructive actions can be taken.

The state's largest teacher's union on Wednesday called for a ban of concealed weapons on school property among other suggestions that educators believe would ensure safety in Utah schools.

Steve Laign, the state superintendent of public instruction, said, "Guns have no place in schools," regardless of whether the carrier is a law-abiding citizen.

However, Gun rights advocates oppose changing state laws that allow a concealed weapons permit holder to carry a gun on school grounds. They point out that that past well-publicized crimes taking place on school grounds could have been avoided if the victims were armed.

Scott Engen, of Gun Owners of Utah, pointed out that, "many Utah educators have been assaulted and victimized at school, drivers shot during school bus highjackings, coaches shot during gang fights on schools grounds, even custodians abducted from school grounds and raped and murdered. Depriving these educators of their means of self-defense, even under the guise of school safety, will only serve to put these educators at further risk of victimization."

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