Utah political leaders are condemning President Barack Obama’s executive action on gun safety. The President outlined the details Tuesday.
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said in a statement President Obama is playing politics instead of making policy decisions based on consensus.
The president’s plan includes stronger background checks and a half a billion dollars for mental health treatment among other measures.
But in his speech, the president referred back to a 2013 background check measure that was written by Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The legislation, which was written shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting failed in the Senate along party lines.
The president’s plan would also require anyone in the business of selling firearms to get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions.
Utah Senator Mike Lee responded in a statement saying the President is misleading the American people by claiming such loopholes exist. He said people engaged in selling firearms had to perform background checks on all purchases before today, and they still have to perform those same background checks tomorrow.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert also criticized the president’s actions. Jon Cox, a spokesman for Herbert said in a statement even when the legislature fails to take action on a bill, the governor has advocated for, he won’t simply ignore them and do it anyway.
According to a UtahPolicy.com poll more than half of Utahns who participated in the poll say they strongly support stricter background checks online and at gun shows.