There are many likely contributors to the fact that Utah has had zero school-related shootings. Utah is one of the states that has the least restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the nation. It’s one of the few that doesn’t forbid concealed carry permit holders from carrying their personal defensive firearms in schools. Utah has very little crime, with one of the lowest homicide rates in the country. And as stated in this article from ksl.com, it’s likely that when you are in Utah, someone near you has a concealed carry permit . . .

Pedersen believes the fact the state has so many gun-friendly laws and concealed weapons permit holders may actually be a deterrent to these types of rampages. The shooter doesn’t know what he’s up against.

“Odds are your neighbor, your person that you work with or your best friend, maybe, has a concealed weapons permit,” he said.

It’s that kind of logic that has Pedersen involved an effort to train and arm teachers. By law, concealed weapons permit holders can be armed inside Utah schools.

School shootings shot up after the passage of the federal gun free school zone law in 1996.  The law was re-instated that year after heavy lobbying by President Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. The law had been struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional in early 1995.

Correlation or causation? You make the call.

©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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59 Responses to Utah: Concealed Carry in Schools, Zero School Shootings. Coincidence?

    • It’s Utah. That’s just 2 of the dude’s wives and some of his kids. Only place I know where the real estate market has more listings for 8-10 bedroom houses than 2-3.

      • probably not Utah since every person in the photo isn’t white and wearing garment-covering T-shirts at a bare minimum.

        • Saw a lot of non white folks in Utah. Temple Square had quite a few of them. But blond hair and blue eyes does seem to be the prevailing theme there.

      • Yup…. I knew it wouldn’t take long for the token uneducated and bigoted comment about polygamy (A practice banned within the LDS church and against state law). Well done.

        • Bigoted? My wife is LDS. The catholic church bans priest messing with alter boys. Guess what? I’ve been to Temple Square, checked the real estate market and I’m not passing judgement.

        • Jeff, there are plenty of non-LDS people in UT. And plenty of LDS people who don’t wear garments. Oh, and plenty of people who aren’t white.

          When I lived in Provo I went shooting on public land across Utah lake. It’s a little hilly spot just for shooting. No lanes. No rangemasters. Just pure freedom. The only downside is that enough people don’t pick up their empty shotgun shells.

        • I agree. As a non LDS resident of Utah, it’s kind of offensive. I moved here in 2010 for a job, knowing nothing about Utah and not really looking forward to moving there. However, I can’t imagine any other state I’d rather live in now. Is it perfect? No. But it’s a great place to raise my kids, my neighbors are great, they’re all LDS and have never once tried to push religion on me or my wife, they’re just really friendly, helpful people. The schools in my area are very good, there are lots of outdoor activities, SLC is a pretty nice place, and obviously the gun laws are great. There’s a lot to like about Utah.

          Oh and Salty Bear, they closed that area off to shooters about two years ago, due to complaints from nearby residents. It’s too bad, because that’s where I used to go shooting. But there were also a lot of irresponsible shooters there as well, so it’s not all bad. I found a nice abandoned quarry about 30 minutes away from me where I can shoot in peace because no one else is ever there.

        • Rich, if you’re living in CA on 900 bucks a month, you can live anywhere with the possible exception of NYC.

          Utah is a great place. They do have winter there. My wife and I have talked of moving there when she gets old enough to retire.(Pitfall of marrying a younger woman. I retired, got bored waiting for her to retire and went back to work.)

          Salt Lake has public transit and is one of the cleaner cities I’ve been to. And regardless of your faith or lack of same, Temple Square is a beautiful place.

      • I guarantee there are more listings for 2 and 3 bedroom houses in the state of Utah than there are for 8+ bedrooms. Please stop with your stereotyping. It’s unnecessary.

      • Sorry but contrary to popular belief most residents of Utah have 0 to 1 spouses, in other words they are single, widowed, divorced, or married to one spouse. Besides If you ever bothered to read the Utah state constitution you’d notice that Polygamy is forbidden. Utah had to put that into its constitution to get the other states to allow it to join the USA. This is in spite of the fact that the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued that plural marriages were no longer allowed. http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/1?lang=eng http://www.archives.state.ut.us/research/exhibits/Statehood/1896text.htm http://le.utah.gov/~code/const/htm/00I03_000100.htm

        So according to this information the people who the show big love was based on should all be on trial for violation of the state constitution as they did live in Utah. It is one of the laws that isn’t strongly enforced from what I’ve seen, but most of the splinter religions that practice plural marriage are in tiny towns or in the middle of nowhere.

    • Not to put too fine a point on it, but the right to keep and bear arms is NOT for the sake of a “well regulated militia” but for the sake of protecting the rights of ALL citizens to keep and bear arms in spite of there being a well regulated militia.

    • Of course if they were in NY, all of those kids would be going to jail for holding dangerous assault weapons. It’s for the children you know!

      • You’re right. Cuomo sucks buffalo a**holes. That guy has GOT to go and I hope we make sure he does this year. Or I have to find a gun friendly state to move to.

    • Mass shootings in schools (a la Sandy Hook) are indeed extremely rare and effectively zero from a statistical standpoint. Shootings in schools (that do not involve a spree killer), while rare, happen quite a bit more than people realize.

      I imagine there is a “firearm incident” almost every day at a school somewhere in the U.S. … where “firearm incident” would run the range from an actual shooting to brandishing to staff or law enforcement discovering a lost or hidden firearm.

  1. As I was a brain dead high schooler in 1996 and don’t remember a lot of what was going on in the realm of gun ban stupidity, how does a law get struck down in 1995 as unconstitutional, and then a year later gets passed and everything is good to go? I guess if you keep throwing B.S. spaghetti laws at the wall, eventually something will stick.

    • Happens all the time. Court rules a law is unconstitutional. Legislators go back and change the law so it is constitutional. I do not know the specifics of the case mentioned, though.

    • It’s simple, actually. The aspects that were problematic were taken out and the new version was passed. Other than the fact we shouldn’t have gun control laws generally, there’s nothing sinister in the idea that the courts would tell the legislature what’s wrong with a law and the legislature fixing it.

    • The problem was the commerce clause if I remember right, and basically Congress put a little bandaid on the law doing nothing practical but getting rid of the technical problem SCOTUS had with it. Same old story, you spend years and tons of money to battle down a law and they come right back at you a week later with a tiny change and dare you to try again…

      • ^ This.

        As I recall, the first law did not reference Interstate Commerce and the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. So Congress simply added the most obscene verbal gymnastics that I have ever seen (claiming that anything that impacts education eventually impacts Interstate Commerce) as justification and passed the law again. To my knowledge, no one has challenged that law in the courts.

        Because of the painful verbal gymnastics that Congress used to tie that law to Interstate Commerce, I (a rational person) would fully expect the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the current version as well. That said, the U.S. Supreme Court has supported other laws with similarly strained ties to Interstate Commerce in recent years. So, challenging the current federal gun free school zones act is anything but a slam dunk if someone takes it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

  2. Correlation, not causation. Utah likely differs from other states in many, many other ways, thus the variables are too vast to yield a causative conclusion. The good news is that school shootings, even spree killings in total, are so rare that it would be effectively impossible to statistically conclude that a specific thing was directly causative. The bad news is that the same is true – the rarity of these events, and the inability to accurate define a causation to them, makes it impossible to meaningfully pass legislation that would reduce the occurrence.

    That said, most people just think mental health and guns are clearly enough factors in the event so why not ban guns and then get cracking on crazy people. But the vast majority of otherwise crazy people don’t commit these crimes, which is also true of gun owners. It’s a freaking mess but the impact is so great when they happen – particularly in schools – that the only way most people have to deal with their fear that something like it can happen to them or theirs, is to go for the easy solution, which is no solution at all.

  3. I’d guess there’s more to it than deterence- like young people who are taught some community values and who are familiarized with guns the RIGHT way.
    Many kids learn about firearms through fallacious TV tropes, and come to think of the firearm as problem solver- the solution to overwhelming odds. I’d suspect that generations of folks growing up with responsible teachings about guns, and how to handle problems, goes a longer way than being paranoid about what the people around you are carrying.

  4. Oh My These poor children, don’t they know guns are dangerous and will turn them all into murderous thugs. I think I’m going to though up.

    NO Just kidding. Great work Utah. My guess is a youth gun club. something more school need. Teach gun safety and responsibility.

  5. i love that picture. it shows gun owners are not just white racist males. there are women, girls, and boys of both Hispanic and European American backgrounds.

  6. The reason UTAH has less crime is the high Mormon population. A well discipline group of folks. 90% actually derive the speed limit.

        • I’ve personally driven 85 on i-15 through salt lake and been one of the slowest on the road. Also,I know I’m a little late to this thread, but I’m a garment wearing Mormon born and raised in Utah and I find none of the above comments offensive. Mormons are a funny lot, and there are a lot of funny stereotypes that are pretty harmless. And Hobble Creek canyon has a great place to shoot past the campgrounds. FWIW.

        • I was in Utah, once; the company I worked for sent me to Dugway Proving Ground at Wasatch, near Tooele (Too-ella, but everybody jokes “Thule.”) and I had about a 20 minute commute from the motel to the shop. You could tell when rush hour was because there’d be another car on the road. 😀
          (Possibly nterestingly, I was a stoner back then, too, and I brought along a couple of doobies in my shirt pocket. On the airplane from ONT to SLC)

    • “The reason UTAH has less crime is the high Mormon population.” Right start, but it’s not the discipline, its the history. Every school teaches state history and the oppression of Mormons and their exodus from the rest of the US is a major point of that history. The Mormons also teach their children the history of the Mormon pioneers.

      When you learn how a religion in a free country built on freedom of religion was denied their rights to worship, disarmed by police who then turned their backs to allow mobs to harass and murder them, had an execution order signed against them by the governor of Missouri granting amnesty for the killing of Mormons, and even had the US Army sent after them, you tend to remember that “It can’t happen here” is a load of bull.

    • My Savage 110 BA is too big too fit into any of my safes. The bolt is locked up, and the rifle is in a cabinet in the garage.

      • Similer problem here. My safe won’t handle the length of my Mosin 91-30. So the bolts get locked in the safe and the rifles are in the closet. I have a detached garage.

  7. “Concealed Carry in Schools, Zero School Shootings. Coincidence?”

    Yeah, probably. But it won’t be a coincidence when a legally carrying citizen stops a school.

  8. Wait a minute… When a bad dude with a gun sees the circle-and-slash over the pistol that doesn’t stop him?!?

  9. That photo could almost be a neighborhood roundup in the part of Utah Valley where my sister lives. One of their neighbors was hosting an exchange student from China, who had a hard time believing that people were actually allowed to own weapons. My two nephews, ages 14 and 16, brought him over and pulled out everything they owned that could qualify as a weapon and spread it all out.

    The whole bedroom floor was carpeted in knives, hatchets, swords, even guns (they each have a .22). The poor Chinese kid just about passed out. It took them a while to convince him that this was perfectly normal and legal and the authorities weren’t going to bust in and arrest everyone.

    After he got over the shock, they spent several blissful hours in the backyard with the other neighborhood kids practicing the fine art of knife and axe throwing (next time I’m in Utah I need to have the nephews teach me). Kid’s probably back in China right now telling stories about how in America even the kids are armed to the teeth. 🙂

    Ah, Utah…gotta love it.

  10. I do love Utah. Rated 2nd state in the nation for gun ownership. A nice, clean place, where local government actually works well, the nature is amazing, and people are nice. And lots of good-looking girls. And the schools are safe and high-quality.

  11. It’s clear to me the positive impact of Utah’s uncommonly wide ranging firearms stance, but the commenters here are correct that disentangling potentially confounding variables can be tricky.

    Still, at least one take away should be uncontroversial, namely that expanded firearms freedom among law abiding citizens does not, in turn, lead to greater frequency or severity of violent events in schools.

  12. S.E. Cupp – Spare us the gun lecture, Harvey

    Weinstein told his buddy Piers Morgan that he is “planning a movie that will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive.””

    S.E. Cupp: “If we’re to assume Weinstein is motivated by a deep concern about gun violence (and not sheer arrogance), then it’s also worth pointing out that he’s got the wrong target. The NRA represents law-abiding gun owners, not criminals. A gangbanger in Chicago doesn’t care about the NRA, isn’t motivated or supported by the NRA, and may not even know what the NRA is. In vowing to take down this powerful organization supported by millions of law-abiding citizens, Weinstein will simply end up empowering and emboldening it.

    Hollywood boycott, anyone?

    • “Hollywood boycott, ”
      I guess I’m having a de facto boycott – The last movie I paid $7 to see was “South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.” I also watch broadcast (over-the-air) TV.

    • it won’t be necessary. It will flop by itself, just like the “let’s make a pretend Obama go all Die Hard with Jamie Foxx” flopped.

  13. “Correlation or causation? You make the call.”

    Human society is like an ecosystem that responds to various pressures applied. When you allow fertilizer runoff to get to a pond ecosystem, the algae takes off, consumes the oxygen and the fish suffer. When you make it difficult for the good guys to get/keep/bear guns, what is a potential and predictable side effect? We should be creating an environment toxic to criminal behaviour, not one that is conducive to it.

  14. Maybe it is all those gun safe manufacturers. I have relatives there somewhere. The Mormans came thru NC back in the 1800’s and took a fair amount of my ancestors with them back to Utah.

  15. CA “allows” CCW holders to carry in schools. I just figured I’d mention that.

    Regardless, it is evident that an armed “good” guy can indeed stop a school shooter.

  16. The kid in the Italian must have rich daddy, what is his gun? And the girl next to him sure has some “Bring It” attitude. Probably to young for tats but she wants one on both biceps.

  17. Utah isn’t exactly a good example to bring up on this subject, just as using Norway as an example of socialism being a successful & profitable form of government. Small population, very little variation in skin color, vary little variation in religious philosophies, high employment rates, support of education, etc….

    There’s A LOT of concealed carry in schools….by the students!

  18. I would be careful using this example. Ignorance knows no State boundaries, and that includes ignorance of the pervasiveness of firearms. Some angsty teenager might be blissfully unaware that his upcoming spree will be met with deadly force sooner rather than later. And unfortunately it is easier for gun-grabbers to count bodies, than it is for RKBAers to count not-bodies.

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