The Utah chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Utah Senate passed legislation to roll back gun laws, including a bill to force colleges and universities to allow 18-21 year olds to carry guns on campus. The bill now heads to Governor Spencer Cox’s desk for his signature.
“Utah lawmakers have once again prioritized the gun lobby over Utahns,” 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. “This bill is nothing more than a politics play that will make our communities less safe. The governor should reject these bills and our leaders should focus on proven solutions to prevent gun violence.”
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% of all gun deaths in the state and the eigth highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the country.
State legislators shouldn’t make colleges less safe by forcing them to allow more concealed handguns in dorms, classrooms, sporting events, and other sensitive areas.