Utah candidates, both gun owners, outline firearms platforms
Mayor Jack Thomas and the Park City Council will likely address state gun laws this summer in the weeks or months after the deadly attack at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.
It is not clear what sort of role the Park City officials could have in a discussion that typically unfolds on the state and federal levels.
Tim Quinn and Rudi Kohler, though, could eventually hold a post of influence should the state government consider changes to gun laws as a result of calls for tighter restrictions in the period after Orlando. Quinn, a Republican, and the Democratic Kohler are vying for the District 54 seat in the Utah House of Representatives. District 54, now held by retiring Republican Kraig Powell, stretches from Heber City into Park City.
Both of the candidates are from the Heber City side of the district, but they would be expected to work with officials in Park City as well once they are in office. The details of the upcoming discussion in Park City about gun laws are not yet known, but it seems likely after recent comments the mayor and City Council will be interested in learning about the possibilities of enacting tighter gun laws.
"I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. I’m not a big fan of what we normally call gun control," Quinn said in an interview.
Quinn said nobody has mentioned gun-related issues to him since the Orlando attack. It was not a topic during a campaign forum in Heber City held after Orlando, he said. He said the Orlando attack was related to terrorism rather than gun laws.
Quinn outlined a potential change in state gun laws he could support regarding a waiting period for people purchasing firearms. He said a 72-hour waiting period has potential for some categories of purchasers. The categories could include those on an FBI watch list of potential terrorists if the list is shown to be accurate and certain mentally disabled people if they are deemed incompetent to own a gun through a medical evaluation.
Quinn owns two firearms, both of them handguns. He has been a gun owner for approximately 30 years.
Kohler, meanwhile, said he would like background checks conducted in the state on everyone purchasing a gun. He wants the background checks increased "to the extent permitted by federal law."
Kohler said gun ownership should be limited to those determined to be responsible citizens who do not represent a potential threat to others. People who should be banned from purchasing or possessing a gun, according to Kohler, include felons, individuals with a history of domestic violence and those with a history of mental instability. People who are included on the federal no-fly list should also be covered under a ban, he said.
Kohler owns one shotgun and two rifles used for hunting. He once was a deer hunter. He has owned guns continuously for approximately 40 years, he said.
Kohler, like his Republican opponent, said voters have not broached the topic with him since Orlando. He predicted gun rights will not be a major issue during the District 54 campaign.
Kohler said the Second Amendment right to bear arms is unclear in its language regarding whether the framers of the Constitution saw the right as applying to individuals or a militia.
"I would have preferred the Second Amendment be clarified on punctuation," Kohler said.
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