Yesterday, dozens of volunteers with the Utah chapter of Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, arrived at the statehouse – having travelled through the worst snowstorm of the year – to call on lawmakers to prioritize gun safety during the legislative session. Volunteers from across the state held meetings with legislators urging them to focus on common-sense solutions to gun violence like extreme risk laws.
Deseret News reported:
“Thompson, whose brother died of suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said extreme risk protection orders give people the chance to get a firearm away from somebody they love when they are in danger of hurting themself or others.
Suicide is the seventh-leading cause of death in Utah, and on a national scale Utah’s suicide rate ranks sixth, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Thompson said many people have seen someone they love in a desperate situation, which can leave them feeling helpless.
‘If we can get this in place we can give families one thing they can do,’ Thompson said of Handy’s legislation.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reported:
“Red flag laws across the nation have withstood constitutional challenge, including one in Connecticut that has been in place since 1999, Thompson said. On Monday, she expressed her hope that Utah lawmakers would at least allow Handy’s red flag bill to move onto the floor of the Legislature for a full hearing.
‘I honestly believe,’ she said, ‘that if people learn about the law and these people get feedback from their constituents, that we can get this bill passed.’”
Extreme risk laws have been proven to save lives – including reducing gun suicide. On average, Utah has 365 gun deaths each year and nearly 85 percent are from gun suicides. Currently, there is only an average of 28 hours between gun suicide deaths – resulting in Utah having the eighth highest rate of gun suicide in the country. Additionally, 73 percent of all gun deaths among children and teens are suicides. An extreme risk law would allow family members and law enforcement to intervene before tragedy strikes by seeking a court order to temporarily remove guns from situations where someone could harm themselves or others. Nationally, 85 percent of respondents in a recent study favored Congressional lawmakers passing an extreme risk law, as well as 78 percent of gun owners. Already, 17 states, including nearby Nevada, and the District of Columbia have enacted extreme risk laws around the country.
Here are some photos from the Utah chapter’s advocacy day:
Statistics about gun violence in Utah are available here, and information on how Utah’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Utah Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.