Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered a state review of protocols regarding school lockdowns following the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, but is not proposing any new legislation to stem gun violence — pointing instead to societal factors that could be to blame.
Speaking Wednesday at his monthly KUED news conference, the governor said he’s asked his education adviser to work with superintendents to make sure schools are safe.
“I think we need to make sure that drills are taking place,” he said. “We have an active shooter drill, where schools, just like a fire drill, go through a process and lockdown, to protect the students. So we want to make sure what we have in place is being prepared for and practiced.”
Herbert was less supportive of an assault weapons ban.
"I don't know where you decide what's an assault rifle and what's not," he said. "We already have laws that say you cannot have automatic weapons — fully automatic."
Those are things the state can look at, he said, but believes there are other root causes prompting these events.
“Certainly mental health issues and background checks are all part and parcel of what we ought to be doing to prevent violence in our schools or other places where the public assembles,” he said. “It’s a complex issue — there’s no easy answer, but we ought to have the discussion.”
Part of that discussion should include society’s role. Herbert said the erosion of the family unit, and violent video games and movies could be factors.
"We ought to be concerned about violence that we just seem to tolerate that comes out of Hollywood," he said. “Are we in fact desensitizing our young people to violence? And making it a little easier for them to go off?”
Whatever the cause, he said, states should take the lead on any new legislation.