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HOLLADAY — Utah gun lobbyist Clark Aposhian appeared briefly in court Tuesday and was ordered to surrender all of his guns within 24 hours.
Aposhian, 48, has been charged with domestic violence in the presence a child, criminal trespass, criminal mischief and threats of violence, all class B misdemeanors, in connection with a May 27 incident involving his ex-wife. Aposhian pleaded not guilty to all of the charges before Holladay Justice Court Judge Augustus Chin.
"There is a provision that would prohibit you … from possessing any firearms at all" while the case is pending, Chin said.
Aposhian was arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail on Memorial Day after police said he drove his "deuce and a half" military surplus truck to the neighborhood where he used to live and backed the vehicle into his ex-wife's driveway before leaving, according to a probable cause statement.
Aposhian's 11-year-old daughter told police she was worried her father was going to crash into the other cars in his big truck, the report states.
Police were called and were waiting at the house when Aposhian returned in a Dodge Magnum. He returned after the woman's husband called to tell him not to come onto the property, and Aposhian allegedly threatened the man, according to the report.
Because of an ongoing custody dispute between Aposhian and the woman, she told police she considered the behavior to be harassment, the report states.
Mitch Vilos, an attorney representing Aposhian in the matter, said the incident had been exaggerated and Aposhian was in the neighborhood to visit friends. He said residents who live in the neighborhood and a friend who was accompanying Aposhian have corroborated his story, reporting that Aposhian had no intention of causing problems with his ex-wife and did not threaten the woman's husband.
Still, a temporary protective order against Aposhian requested in 3rd District Court Friday was issued the same day. A hearing on the order is set for June 18.
Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo said police shouldn't have to get involved in the removal of Aposhian's weapons, saying the man has the right to place them with a third party not under any kind of gun restriction.
The chief said he hopes the case will be resolved quickly and that the priority now is the victim and child. Divorce, new marriages and custody issues are emotional matters that require caution, he said.
"We have no agenda here. We're just simply trying to protect the child — the wife and child," Russo said, adding that Aposhian's access to weapons will depend on the resolution. "He may never get his guns back, depending on what the resolution is. … It depends ultimately on what he pleads to."
Aposhian did not comment after the hearing Tuesday. A pretrial hearing in the case has been set for June 26.
Contributing: Peter Samore