Adopting a policy mandating that visitors to the Utah State Hospital in Provo check their guns at the door is a reasonable security step that should not offend anyone's allegiance to the Second Amendment.
It is a common-sense compromise, agreed to by the Legislature's Administrative Rules Committee, that may technically conflict with the state's concealed-carry law but that should not be challenged.Guns pose a threat - real or imagined - to more than 300 mentally ill patients housed at the psychiatric facility. Some patients have difficulty interpreting various situations and could react with extreme fear or violence at the sight of a weapon. There is no need to risk that or to press a point about "packing" by forcing the issue.
For that reason, it is right to expect staff and visitors to lock weapons in their vehicles or to leave them at the main administration building. Trained security provides adequate protection on the 325-acre campus.
Monday was the second time State Hospital officials appeared before members of the Rules Committee. A couple of months ago, the body determined the hospital ban went too far and requested that it be modified, which was done in acceptable fashion.
It is encouraging to see legislators, previously intransigent on this issue, exercise common sense. They should stick to their guns if challenged and take the next logical step to ban weapons in schools, churches and at the 2002 Winter Games.
A recent Deseret News survey showed an overwhelming 90 percent of Utahns favor restricting guns from places of worship and educational institutions. A separate, informal poll by the United States Olympic Committee yielded a nearly identical 91 percent figure opposed to allowing concealed weapons at Olympic events in 2002.
The Legislature is not undermining the Second Amendment by infusing a few reasonable, thoughtful restraints into Utah's gun laws. Adopting this prudent policy at the State Hospital is a good step forward.