According to a recent poll, 68 percent of Utahns support extreme risk protective orders (ERPOs) that would allow family members and police to ask a judge to temporarily remove firearms from someone who has threatened suicide or who poses an immediate threat to others.
Yet zero legislators have formally debated an ERPO bill — House Bill 209 — introduced by Rep. Steve Handy, and zero Utahns have testified for or against the bill because it is languishing in the House Rules Committee. That’s likely due in no small part to the efforts of the one NRA lobbyist who is working to kill the ERPO bill.
Utah has the fifth-highest suicide rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, between 1999 and 2016, Utah’s suicide rate increased 46.5 percent. The Utah Department of Human Services recently reported that suicide was the cause in about 85 percent of firearm deaths between 2006 and 2015, and that guns are used in about 50 percent of Utah’s suicide deaths. I urge the House Rules Committee to release the ERPO bill and give Utah lawmakers and Utah citizens a chance to weigh in on a bill that could save many lives.
Laura Gee, Salt Lake City