No more plea bargains for gun crimes announces Salt Lake County DA

Oct 20, 2021, 5:29 PM | Updated: 5:42 pm
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, and Salt Lake C...
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, and Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown hold a news conference on the rise of gun crime in Salt Lake County on October 20, 2021 (Nick Wyatt, KSL Newsradio)
(Nick Wyatt, KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announced on Wednesday that he will no longer offer plea bargains for gun crimes.

Tough on gun crime 

During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Gill spoke alongside Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera and Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown. They were there to talk about the rise in gun crimes and to make an announcement about the handling of gun-related cases. 

“Any violent crime where a gun is used will not be plea-bargained as to that gun charge, will not be reduced as to that charge, and will come with a recommendation for prison or jail as appropriate,” said Gill. 

Effective immediately, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office will prosecute crimes involving guns to the fullest extent of the law. 

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office reports that 67% of the 93 murders committed last year involved the use of a weapon. Gill said his office has screened 78 cases of murder or attempted murder. The common theme among those cases is the possession or use of a firearm. 

Unlawful gun ownership is also in the DA’s sites

Gill and his office of prosecutors are also cracking down on unlawful gun ownership. 

“Any possession of a weapon by a restricted person where the underlying restriction is based upon a previous violent crime will not be reduced through plea bargain, and will also come with a recommendation for prison or jail as appropriate,” said the district attorney. 

The issue of illegal gun possession is no small one in Salt Lake City. Chief Mike Brown said his officers have booked nearly 500 of them into evidence this year alone. 

“Many of those firearms, if left in the wrong hands, could have been used to threaten, coerce, injure, and even worse — to kill,” said Brown.

Our squads of patrol officers are seizing illegal firearms in our parks, in our businesses, in our entertainment districts, at home, at schools, in cars, airports, and nearby playgrounds.” 

Chief Brown said his department will not hesitate to recommend the fiercest of prosecution for accused violent offenders. That’s exactly what DA Sim Gill said he is poised to do.

“You are put on notice, starting today, there will be no more plea bargains and we are going to throw the book at you,” said Gill.

A new approach could reduce gun crime and repeat offenders

Sheriff Rivera said she believes this new approach will not only reduce gun crime but will also decrease the number of repeat visitors to the Salt Lake County Jail. 

“We need to send a message that if you are using a firearm in a violent crime, something will happen to you. You will stay in our jail,” said Rivera. 

The sheriff, chief, and district attorney had a message for lawful gun owners in Utah.  They ask them to properly lock up their firearms to prevent burglary or theft. 

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No more plea bargains for gun crimes announces Salt Lake County DA