SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, issued the following statement applauding Utah Governor Spencer Cox for signing HB 481 and HB 199 – two measures which will support youth suicide prevention efforts in Utah and protect domestic violence victims by strengthening the state’s Safe Harbor law.
“The work we saw this session is an important step in the right direction toward addressing gun violence in Utah,” said Caitlin Boyer, a volunteer with Utah Moms Demand Action. “Our children deserve to grow in a safe and healthy environment and these bills have a clear goal – to save lives. We applaud lawmakers for coming together to address the mental health and gun violence crisis in our state, and look forward to continuing to partner with Governor Cox to address gun violence in all its forms.”
The first piece of legislation would add a requirement that schools give parents who have been notified of a threat of suicide or a bullying incident suicide prevention materials and information on ways to limit the student’s access to fatal means, including firearms. In addition, the state superintendent would be responsible for selecting the materials to distribute in collaboration with the state suicide prevention coordinator and public education suicide prevention coordinator. This is crucial step in attending the state’s high suicide rate, where 82 percent of gun deaths in Utah are by firearm suicide.
The second measure signed into law would require law enforcement to provide domestic violence victims with information about their right to request a firearm be transferred to law enforcement for a cooling off period of 60 days under Utah’s Safe Harbor Law. In addition, it would also strengthen the protections of the Safe Harbor Law by clarifying that law enforcement may not return a firearm to the owner in certain situations where the risk of domestic violence may be more acute.
The bill signing comes as Moms Demand Action celebrates 10 years of life-saving work, advocating for the safety of families and communities from gun violence.
Utah ranks 36th in the country for gun law strength in Everytown’s 2023 Gun Law Rankings. Everytown’s interactive gun law platform – which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws – is available here. More information about gun violence in Utah is available here. To speak to a Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer about our efforts, please reach out to [email protected].