Gun bill inspired by slain Utah student rejected again

Gun Rights

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A gun law proposal inspired by the shooting death of University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey stalled again Monday after state lawmakers disagreed on whether gun owners should be held liable when loaned firearms are used in a crime. The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously against advancing a proposal that would have held gun owners civilly liable if they lend out a firearm used in a crime. The vote came after a hearing where gun rights advocates testified that the measure would put too much blame on the gun owner rather than the one committing the crime. The sponsor, Democrat Rep. Andrew Stoddard, had dubbed the measure "Lauren’s Law" after slain student Lauren McCluskey, a 21-year-old track athlete who was fatally shot last year on campus by an ex-boyfriend who was using a borrowed gun. It was the second time this session the members of the Republican-dominated Legislature voted against the measure, which could come back at next year’s session. "People aren’t willing to be responsible when they loan a gun out and I’m not sure what that hesitation is," Democratic sponsor Rep. Andrew Stoddard said after the hearing. "This is a bill to encourage smart gun ownership." Authorities say McCluskey’s ex-boyfriend, convicted felon Melvin Rowland, killed her on Oct. 22 after getting a gun by telling a friend he wanted to teach his girlfriend how to shoot. Rowland later killed himself as police pursued him. McCluskey was a communications major from Pullman, Washington. […]

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