Etgar 36

Salt Lake City

– Rachel Ackerman

After a 2 1/2 hr bus ride from Rock Springs, Wyoming we arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Throughout the drive, we saw acres of endless mountains and lush green grass, a refreshing change from my typical east coast scenery. Following our lunch at Whole Foods, we spoke with Clark Aposhian and his colleagues who expressed their  “pro-gun rights” beliefs. Aposhian is a firearms instructor and lobbyist for multiple organizations related to his gun beliefs. When we walked in, there was a table displaying multiple different types of guns. This and the taxidermy on the walls made me extremely uncomfortable. Aposhian then shared how Utah had the most relaxed gun laws out of all 50 states. I was shocked when I learned about Utah’s absence of “ghost” gun bans. Ghost guns are guns that don’t have a serial number and/or are untraceable. In terms of suicide by guns, Aposhian said, “The last thing somebody in a crisis needs is a gun,” and said in every class he teaches, there is a suicide prevention aspect to the curriculum. His ideas contradicted those we heard from Tom Mauser earlier in the week and my personal beliefs. Many of my peers on the trip have personal experiences with gun violence in their family or community. I could see their frustration with some of Clark Aposhian’s arguments and the profound impact of gun violence on their lives. 

We then went to the shooting range and watched a shooting demonstration. It was extremely loud, and I could feel the sounds jump in my chest. It startled me even when I knew it was coming, which made me think of how scary it is when you hear those gunshots when you aren’t expecting them, especially if they are in a school.

After our discussion, we visited the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. Our missionary tour guides shared all about their religion and places of worship. My group’s missionaries were from Hawaii and Mongolia. The moving tabernacle was beautiful and had an organ with over 11,000 pipes. I was surprised by the amount of similarities between their beliefs and those in Judaism.

We finished our day at the movie theatre, and I elected to watch the New Spider-Man movie.