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Utah lawmaker proposes legislation to raise age to purchase firearms

Posted at 2:09 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 16:27:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah legislator says he is proposing legislation that would raise the age to purchase a firearm in the state from 18 to 21 years old.

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State Sen. Derek Kitchen (D-Salt Lake City) made the announcement the day after 19 students and 2 teachers were killed in a school shooting in Texas. In the wake of the shooting, frustration over lawmakers inability to curb mass shootings through gun control has become a talking point.

“This bill is simple,” said Kitchen. “If you are not able to consume alcohol, why should you be able to buy a gun?"

A fact sheet from the Giffords Law Center provided by Kitchen's office says data suggests that 18-20-year-olds account for 17% of "known homicide offenders." It also claimed a study showed a 9% decline in gun suicides in states that raised the age to purchase firearms.

"I have met with children and parents who are scared to go to school. That we offer condolences is not enough. Where is the urgency?," asked Kitchen. "If we don’t act now this will happen again, and again. This bill is the least we can do to keep our communities safe."

McCall Lyon with The Children's Center Utah joined FOX 13 News below to discuss how to talk to children about tragic news

In-Depth: How to talk to kids about tragic news

Kitchen's release said 400 people die by guns in Utah in an average year, ranking 25th in the country.