Gun control activists cheer end of Utah bill that wouldn’t have changed much

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Anti-gun violence groups fought a rewrite of Utah’s Stand Your Ground law, but the proposal would only have made small changes.

The Utah Legislature on Thursday failed to give a final vote to House Bill 129, a proposed revision to the state’s Stand Your Ground laws, leading gun control groups to celebrate.

Activists from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had been at the state capitol March 5 to protest the bill.

On February 28, Everytown sent out an email asking the public to sign a petition against the bill. It described HB 129 as “a dangerous Stand Your Ground bill being pushed by the gun lobby.”

But contrary to those sensationalist words, HB 129, if it had passed, wouldn’t really have changed much.

The bill would have amended Utah Code 76-2-402, the state’s Stand Your Ground law. It would have added the definition of a “forcible felony” to the beginning of the code and changed every reference to “a person” to refer instead to “an individual.”

The proposal would also have reworded the section of the law that says that an individual is not required to retreat to a place of safety, if one exists. But the rewording wouldn’t actually have changed the overall meaning of that section.

Finally, the person “standing their ground” would have been allowed to consider any applicable factors when “standing,” not just the immediacy of the danger and their relationship with the attacker.

Other than that…nothing would have changed.

Utah Rep. Mike Winder (R-West Valley City) said the bill was a clarification to avoid victim-shaming. Thevictim in this case would be the person standing their ground.

While I support the work and advocacy of Everytown and Moms Demand Action, perhaps they would be better off focusing on more significant gun control legislation.