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‘This is a devastating tragedy’: Utah representatives weigh in on Florida shooting

‘This is a devastating tragedy’: Utah representatives weigh in on Florida shooting

(Ravell Call, KSL File)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — As news came in Wednesday about the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, local Utah political figures began weighing in.

Several members of Utah’s all-Republican congressional delegation have already issued statements on the shooting, and there's at least one more yet to come. Gov. Gary Herbert also spoke about the shooting.

Here’s what local politicians had to say:

Orrin Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, issued a lengthy statement following the shooting, in which 17 people were killed.

“This is a devastating tragedy, and it’s the kind we’ve grown far too accustomed to,” Hatch said in a statement posted on his website. “My prayers are with the families of the victims and the people of Florida.”

He also thanked law enforcement officers, students and teachers who acted heroically during the shooting.

Hatch also pointed to the Fix NICS Act, which was introduced in November by Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas).

The bill proposes enforcing and strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System laws by applying penalties to government agencies for not reporting to the system. The bill has been introduced in the House and referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.

In his statement, Hatch denounced “unproductive, partisan foxholes.” He said he was preparing to introduce new legislation soon that would address school safety.

“I believe we can find common ground as we address the underlying problems at the root of these horrific acts,” Hatch said. “Just as we did with the Fix NICS Act, I hope we can continue working together to make our communities safe.”

Gary Herbert

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert posted a brief statement on his Twitter page:

“I am horrified by today's act of violence in Florida,” Herbert said. “It sickens me to hear of yet another mass shooting at a school.”

Mia Love

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, issued a brief statement via her website:

“Words cannot express my level of sorrow and grief about the unspeakable tragedy in Parkland, Florida,” Love said. “I am grateful to law enforcement for their prompt, compassionate response to the school, and who were able to bring this terror to an end. As a mother, I feel for the families in the community and I’m sending my love and prayers to them.”

Chris Stewart

A spokeswoman for Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, emailed a brief statement from the congressman to KSL.com on Thursday:

“My heart aches for the victims and families affected by the tragedy in Parkland, Florida,” Stewart said. “I am grateful for the local law enforcement and teachers who put their lives on the line to help students and find the suspect in a timely matter.”

John Curtis

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, had not made a statement about the Parkland shooting as of 3:30 p.m. Thursday. However, staffers in his office said it was on the congressman’s mind and he would be making a statement in the near future.

After a gunman killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Nov. 5, Curtis said he was “heartbroken” to hear the news.

“Grateful for our brave first responders on the scene,” Curtis said on Twitter. “We must all stand up against evil.”

Rob Bishop

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, had not yet issued a statement on the shooting as of Thursday afternoon.

After a gunman killed 58 people and injured 851 in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, Bishop spokesman Lee Lonsberry briefly discussed the congressman’s legislative priorities with KSL.

Lonsberry said on Oct. 5 that while Bishop is committed to defending Second Amendment rights, he would continue to review any and all legislation regarding bump stocks, a gun accessory that the Las Vegas gunman used to modify his rifles to fire like automatic weapons.

Mike Lee

Representatives from the office of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Lee did not plan to make a statement about the Florida shooting.

Lee had planned to hold an “Access Live” teleconference event with constituents on Wednesday evening, but he postponed the event due to the shooting, he said on Twitter.

After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Lee’s representatives also briefly discussed gun control legislation with KSL.

Lee was waiting for all the facts from the Las Vegas shooting to be confirmed by authorities before jumping to any conclusions about possible policy changes, representatives from the senator’s office said on Oct. 5.

Contributing: Dennis Romboy

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