HOLLADAY — Utah's top gun lobbyist was arrested Monday in an incident reportedly stemming from a custody battle.
Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, was arrested Monday and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of failure to appear in court, domestic violence, harassment, trespassing and a handful of traffic infractions. He later posted bail and was released.
Police said Aposhian drove a "deuce and a half" military surplus vehicle down a dead-end road to his ex-wife's house just before 7 p.m. Sunday. He then backed the vehicle into the driveway rather than turning the vehicle around in the cul-de-sac and left the area, according to a probable cause statement.
The couple at the home told police Aposhian nearly hit a Jeep that was parked in the driveway, and Aposhain's 11-year-old daughter said she was worried her father was going to crash into the other cars in his big truck, a police report states.
The couple reported there is an ongoing custody dispute between them and Aposhian. Because they have told Aposhian several times to stay off their property, they considered his brief visit to be harassment, police said.
When the couple called Aposhian to tell him again not to come to their home, he replied he will "go wherever he wants and he would run over their cars and bury the victim," according to the report.
Mitch Vilos, an author and attorney primarily experienced in representing self defense and firearms cases, said on Aposhian's behalf that the allegations were trumped up and denied any reports that Aposhian threatened anyone.
Vilos asserted Aposhian was driving his military-grade vehicle and displaying a flag to celebrate Memorial Day, and he had gone to his former neighborhood to visit some neighbors.
When Aposhian prepared to leave, he was uncomfortable backing the large truck down the road to turn it around out of concern for children playing in the area, Vilos said. Instead, he backed into the nearest convenient driveway — that of the house where he used to live.
Vilos said a passenger in Aposhian's vehicle and the neighbors he was visiting have corroborated the story, and he doubts any formal charges will be filed.
"We're still trying to figure out how in the world these charges could be brought. I'm clueless," Vilos said. "I think that he will be vindicated."
Police were on scene when Aposhian returned, this time driving a red Dodge Magnum. He blocked the house's driveway with his vehicle and started yelling about not having done any damage, the report states. When police asked him to step out of the car, Aposhian informed them he was wearing a sidearm, which an officer confiscated.
Aposhian told police he was in the area to try and force a custody exchange, according to the report.
The highly visible firearms advocate has been in the spotlight as a lobbyist for pro-gun legislation, such as HB76, the so-called "constitutional carry" law that was vetoed earlier this year. He is a regular figure in public debates addressing firearms and self defense, often alongside Vilos, and is a certified concealed carry instructor.