Jun 16, 2022 - Politics

Utah's governor urges lawmakers to keep an "open mind" on gun legislation

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox at PBS Utah.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox at a news conference at PBS Utah. Photo: Laura Seitz/Deseret News/Pool.

In his last PBS Utah news conference until August, Gov. Spencer Cox spoke on issues on Thursday surrounding gun control, rising gas costs and the planned white nationalist riot in Idaho.

On gun control: Amid a string of mass shootings in the U.S., Cox said Utah lawmakers from across the aisle needed to keep an open mind on gun legislation.

  • When asked if he supported Salt Lake City Democrat Sen. Derek Kitchen's proposal to raise the legal age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21, Cox said, "This is one I'm not there yet. I'm certainly open to the discussion."
  • Cox said he had trouble getting behind the issue, adding that if 18-year-olds can join the military then they should be able to purchase a firearm.

On prices at the pump: The Republican governor said the issue was still under discussion.

  • Utah lawmakers met this week to discuss the practicality of no-fare public transit across the state and whether it would boost ridership.
  • Background: In May, Cox told reporters that making transit free would help Utahns deal with climbing gas prices in the state, where the average cost per gallon recently surpassed $5.

On white nationalists in Idaho: Cox called the attempted riot by a white nationalist group called Patriot Front at a Pride event in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho "sickening and disgusting."

  • "There's just no room for that in our society today," he continued. "From a law enforcement standpoint, our law enforcement does a great job of trying to monitor those types of hate groups."

Background: 31 men, including six Utahns, were arrested under suspicion of attempting to start a riot at an Idaho Pride event earlier this month.

  • The Utahns are from Elk Ridge, Kaysville, Midvale, Midway, Springville and West Valley City.

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