Although the legislative session has ended, there are still several things that Governor Cox can do to promote gun safety in Utah. Gun violence prevention is more important than ever this year as the pandemic continues to exacerbate gun violence, and after a year of increased gun sales, continued police violence, increased risk of suicide and domestic violence, and an increase in city gun violence.
On average, nearly 400 people are shot and killed with a gun every year and firearms are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Utah. Utah has the eighth highest rate of gun suicides in the country, which accounts for over 84% of gun deaths in the state.
Three Things Governor Cox Should Do to Promote Gun Safety:
- Veto dangerous legislation: Right now, Governor Cox has legislation on his desk 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. Both bills are proven to increase the risk of gun violence and could cost the state millions of dollars.
- Promote the importance of securely storing firearms: With so many children and teens still at home — and away from friends and extended family — due to coronavirus, the risk of gun suicides and unintentional shootings is elevated. In fact, research shows there were 657 unintentional gun deaths in 2020 compared to 482 in 2019—a 36 percent increase. Governor Cox promoting educational programs, like Be SMART, about how to securely store firearms could help save lives.
- Support local violence intervention groups: Local violence intervention groups doing work to support domestic violence services is critical during this time. Data from police calls, crime reports, and domestic violence hotlines found an eight percent increase in domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and related stay-at-home orders. Governor Cox can help support these groups and raise awareness about their services.
Additional information on gun violence in Utah is available here, and Everytown’s Gun Law Navigator — which shows how Utah’s gun laws compare to those of other states — is available here.
To speak with Utah Moms Demand Action and/or Students Demand Action volunteers, please do not hesitate to reach out.