When we called Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, this week about his reaction to the crash and burn of the Senate's gun control bill last week, we thought we'd break the ice by asking for a status report on Aposhian's AR-15 rifle that was recently stolen from his SUV.
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot.
"How is that news?" Aposhian said, somewhat testily. He said it a couple times. Obviously, the state's leading gun lobbyist finds having his assault rifle, complete with a thermal-imaging scope, ripped off by bad guys is an embarrassment.
When he chilled, we discussed the failure of the Obama administration to get gun federal checks expanded (It went down 54-46, six votes short of the required 60-vote threshold).
No surprise, Aposhian, Utah's leading gun advocate and lobbyist, was happy with the failure. Read more about Aposhian's clout and Utah's love affair with the gun in SLMag.
"If it would have addressed the problems at Sandy Hook—sure," he says of expanded background checks or any other gun bills. "Until they can accurately identify the problem and the cause and actually find a solution, it's just passing a law to say they passed a law."
Aposhian had the opportunity to air his arguments last week with state Sen. Allen Christensen; Mitch Vilos, an authority on Utah Gun Laws, against Jean Hill of the Salt Lake Catholic Diocese, Maryann Martindale of Alliance for a Better Utah, and Steve Gunn of the Utah Gun Violence Prevention Center at a debate on the University of Utah campus.
A SLMag reader, Louise Ewing, who attended, sent us a report on the face off. If nothing else she reports, the debate revealed the breath of the divide "between the gun control advocates and "the keep your hands off MY firearms folk'." Christensen, for instance, supported a citizen's right to own a .50 cal. machine gun for self defense. On the other hand, Hill found the gun as "simply a tool, like a hammer" argument ridiculous and also argued the reduction of violent crime in Utah is due to a society that is "life-affirming," something that attitudes and fears driving gun ownership undermine.
Now, about that assault rifle that was purloined from Aposhian's Dodge SUV. He says the thieves popped his door lock, then broke into a "truck vault" in which the rifle was secured. His lockable steel box "is the same thing law enforcement uses to secure weapons."
The thieves "obviously targeted" his vehicle, Aposhian says, knowing he often transports valuable weapons.
Aposhian apologized for being touchy about the theft. (Anyone, pro- or anti-gun, knows Aposhian is one of the easiest-going guys around.) But he feels like some members of the media have been picking on him about his wayward assault rifle, to the point of the Trib printing his home address in its story.
And, no, the police have had no luck recovering the AR.