Letter: Protective orders could prevent many suicides

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Various caliber bullets are on display at The Gun Vault shooting range in South Jordan where a group of women with concealed carry permits regularly meet to train and learn safe and responsible gun handling skills.

In The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial, “Time to take firearms seriously”, the editorial board points out the important common-sense solution of Red Flag laws to reduce gun deaths and injuries.

A Red Flag law, also called Extreme Risk Protective Orders (or ERPO), is being proposed currently in Utah by Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, as a critical part of the solution to address our state’s high rate of suicide.

As a recent Harvard study on suicide in Utah shows, half of all suicides are committed with a firearm, and firearms are the most lethal means for suicide, with an 87 percent fatality rate. Means matters when it comes to suicide prevention.

ERPOs address lethal means by allowing law enforcement and family members to petition a judge to temporarily remove firearms from a person who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others. ERPOs have been shown to significantly reduce suicides and help individuals in crisis receive mental health and substance abuse services.

ERPOs have been passed 13 states and are being considered in 18 others. Gun owners and other concerned community members should work with legislators to help pass this good Red Flag law in Utah.

Andrea Himoff, Park City

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