Former Utah Gov. Calvin Rampton said Tuesday that Utah should be responsible in taking steps establishing gun-control legislation.

Rampton said he was born into a family that had a tradition of having guns for sporting purposes. He himself has a large gun collection. "I am not a person who would lightly propose unreasonable restrictions on the possession and use of firearms," he said.But the former governor said because today's society is more complex, residents should accept more restrictions on their activities than they would have been willing to do a century ago.

"Utah, almost alone among the states, has taken almost no steps toward limiting responsible gun ownership," he said.

In a speech to the Footprinters, a law enforcement support organization, Rampton likened certain gun restrictions to the use of automobiles.

"We accept without question the fact that we have to register our automobiles," he said. Drivers are also required to take driver training, pass a test, obey traffic rules and regulations and agree to reduce our emission of pollutants.

"Yet any suggestion as to any restrictions on the use of firearms meets with emotional opposition."

The former governor said the most frequently heard argument against any gun control is that it is unconstitutional. But a distinction is not generally made between the state and federal constitutions. "The state constitution clearly provides for legislative control in the possession and use of firearms," he said.

Rampton attacked the National Rifle Association and said it opposes all gun regulations seemingly out of fear that any such legislation would eventually extend too far.

"I am appalled at the damage which this organization with so much potential for good has done because of its shortsighted policy," he said.

Rampton appealed to the many police officers in Footprinters to help him in getting an interim committee of the state Legislature to study the issue. He said he hopes legislation will be presented in 1992.


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Former Utah Gov. Calvin Rampton said he would like to see the state Legislature enact the following gun-control regulations:

- Prohibit individual ownership of machine guns and assault rifles.

- Require registration of all rifles, shotguns and handguns with an appropriate authority.

- Require all people licensed to possess rifles, shotguns or handguns to pass an examination in gun use and gun safety.

- Make all licensed gun holders legally responsible if they negligently allow the guns to be used by unlicensed people and for damage resulting from negligent or intentional misuse.