The Utah chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after Utah lawmakers callously shoved through legislation to roll back gun laws, including a “Stand Your Ground” expansion bill and a bill to force colleges and universities to allow 18-21 year olds to carry guns on campus. The bills now head to Governor Spencer Cox’s desk.
“With more than nearly 400 people dying by guns in Utah every year, gun safety should be the priority,” said Mary Ann Thompson, a volunteer leader with the Utah chapter of Moms Demand Action and gun violence survivor whose brother died by gun suicide. “These bills are proven to make us less safe. Governor Cox should do right by Utah and veto them immediately.”
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund recently released a fact sheet compiling more than a dozen analyses on the effects of these deadly so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws. Among the studies highlighted in the resource, research shows that justifiable firearm homicide rates increased by 55 percent in states that enacted Stand Your Ground, while these rates increased by 20 percent in states that did not have such laws.
Guns have no place on college campuses, and allowing more guns on campus could increase the risk of gun violence and gun suicide for students. The rate of firearm suicide among young people (10-24) has increased 56 percent over the last decade – and access to firearms increases the risk of suicide by three times. Utah’s gun suicide rate is more than one and a half times that of the national gun suicide rate. On average, 327 people in Utah die by gun suicide every year—accounting for 84 percent of all gun deaths in the state and the eighth highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the country.