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Bill targeting Salt Lake County gun show background checks clears House

The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.
The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill targeting a new Salt Lake County rule to require vendors at gun shows in county facilities to run background checks sailed through the Utah House of Representatives on Friday after no debate.

The bill, HB271, seeks to declare with more clarity the state has total control over gun laws in Utah — and no city or county can work around that power.

The bill cleared the House on a 55-15, party line vote after lawmakers approved an amendment clarifying guns can be banned in homeless shelters, as well as striking a clause that would allow elected officials to be sued for voting to regulate firearms.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, an outspoken Second Amendment supporter on Utah’s Capitol Hill. It’s opposed by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and Democrats, who argue local governments should have the ability to pass local regulations.

Wilson has argued her “operational change” to close the gun show background check loophole in Salt Lake County by requiring it in contracts with gun show vendors isn’t necessarily a regulation, but rather an exercise of the county’s administrative ability to set requirements with vendors leasing county-owned facilities.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.