A national organization named Utah one of four states with the "Craziest Gun Laws" for allowing firearms on college campuses, but Utah lawmakers said the law is far from crazy.
"I think you deserve to be protected wherever you go," Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, said. "It's a public place."
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence released its annual 100-point scorecard that ranks states on the basis of laws to prevent gun violence. The scorecard looks at background checks on sales, permit-to-purchase requirements and laws that help police crack down on corrupt gun dealers.
For the second year in a row, the group has awarded Utah zero points. Alaska and Arizona also got a zero score.
"That's an A-plus for me," Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, said. "Last year we were the first state to get a zero. I was hoping they would give us a minus-F-minus."
The Brady Campaign has no clue what the truth is, Oda said, accusing the organization of giving out bad statistics.
"Everything they put out is a red herring to evoke emotion," Oda said.
Other legislators have views similar to Oda's.
Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, called the Brady Campaign a very liberal anti-gun organization and said he expected the organization to score Utah the way it did.
"They've been trying to take away America's rights to bear arms for years," Ray said, "It doesn't surprise me, and it doesn't faze me, either."
Ray is glad Utah allows firearms on college campuses. He said Utah's low rate of violence directly correlates with people being able to carry firearms.
"I think our gun rights are pretty good," Ray said.
Brian Malte, the Brady Campaign's director of state legislation, said the state did not score low because the group is anti-gun, but because Utah does not have any laws to prevent gun violence.
"We're not a gun-ban organization, and we never have been," Malte said.
Malte said the group wants states to pass sensible laws, such as requiring dealers at gun shows to go through the same background checks as gun shops, a request most people agree with.
"What we're proposing here isn't Draconian," Malte said, "It's common sense."
This is the fourth year the Brady Campaign released the scorecard. For the first two years, Utah scored two points before dropping down to zero points for allowing loaded weapons in employee parking lots.
Malte said that according to the Centers for Disease Control, Utah ranks 31st in the nation for gun deaths out of every 100,000 people.