The Utah chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after Gov. Cox signed HB 60, which would eliminate the permit requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in nearly all public places, meaning that more people could carry hidden, loaded handguns without a background check or any safety training. The bill would also remove the suicide prevention training currently required when obtaining a permit:
“Today, Utah became less safe,” 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. “HB 60 has bipartisan opposition and has already been vetoed by our former Governor Herbert because our permitting system was considered ‘a national model.’ Yet this session, lawmakers fast tracked the bill instead of addressing our gun suicide epedemic. Our leaders chose the gun lobby over public safety and they have let us down, but are committed to continuing to fight for the gun safety legislation that Utahns deserve.”
Permitless carry legislation strips states of essential permitting and training standards for carrying concealed guns in public. Training is one of the cornerstones of responsible gun ownership, and removing that element is risky. The majority of Americans support concealed carry permitting systems that provide firearm safety training and ensure that only responsible gun owners can carry concealed guns in public.
Gutting any training requirements is dangerous but removing training about suicide prevention is particularly harmful. The national firearm suicide rate for children and teens has increased by 59 percent in the past 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 nearly 85% of all gun deaths in the state and the eigth highest rate of gun suicide deaths in the country.
More information about permitless carry here. 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.