Love Accused of ‘Waffling’ on Guns

Attempted to clarify position in Facebook group

Rep. Mia Love walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on March 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Mia Love walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on March 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted March 27, 2018 at 10:43am

As Democrats accuse Utah Rep. Mia Love of having ties to the gun lobby, she is also facing pressure from conservatives who are concerned about her position on guns.

In the days after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and teachers, the Republican told Utah senators “everything has to be on the table” to reduce gun violence, the Deseret News reported. The following day, she told The Salt Lake Tribune that she was unsure about arming teachers as some, including President Donald Trump, have proposed.

On Friday, Love wrote an opinion piece for the Deseret News in which she reiterated she would look at “all possible options” for regulating firearms.

“I’m willing to put everything on the table, including bump stocks and exploring judicial processes to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands,” she wrote.

In an editorial board meeting with the Tribune, Love said she was open to raising the age for buying assault rifles but also said schools should improve security.

Watch: ‘Vote Them Out:’ Thousands March on Washington to Protest Inaction on Gun Violence

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“First and foremost we should definitely do what we can to make sure that schools are a little safer,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s putting guns in the hands of teachers, I’m not sure if that’s the fix.”

In response, Utah Democrats posted a photo of Love with the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the Tribune reported, with the caption “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

But William D. Pedersen, one of the men in the Utah Shooting Sports Council photo, said he was worried about Love’s position.

“To be honest with you, she has been waffling,” he said. “She’s one of our best [representatives] back in Washington. But we’ve got to figure some things out.”

Love later tried to clarify her position in a Facebook page for conservative Mormons. Copies of posts there were first obtained by liberal website ThinkProgress.

“I am always going to defend our 2nd amendment rights,” she said in the group. “If a teacher is trained and wants to carry, they should. I support that. What I was referring to was my response to the media. It was asked if I wanted to force teachers to be armed. I said that doesn’t make any sense.”

Similarly, in another set of screenshots also obtained by Roll Call, Love seemed to change her definition of what she meant by “everything on the table.”

“As for everything on the table, I’m talking about Hollywood violent movie [sic], horrible video games and the explicit music that are [sic] kids listen to,” she wrote in the group. “People want to look at guns, they should also look at what’s poisoning children’s minds.”

Asked for a clarification of her statements, Love’s congressional office spokesman, Richard Piatt, said the congresswoman has maintained her position.

“Her position has not changed,” he said in an email. “Everything on the table means everything is on the table.”

Love is facing a competitive re-election race, with Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Ben McAdams looking to unseat her in the fall.

For his part, McAdams initially was mum on guns until telling the Tribune on Monday that he supports raising the age limit on purchasing assault weapons, banning bump stocks, and requiring background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Leans Republican.