Domestic violence imposes a large cost on society: Tax dollars pay for incarceration of offenders, evictions of individuals from rental units for lease violations, Child Protective Services for children, social services such as food pantries and subsidized childcare for victims, and medical treatment of wounds from physical altercations. The list goes on.

As a social worker who provides treatment for victims of domestic violence, I have seen how access to weapons severely destroys the sense of safety felt within the homes where intimate partner violence occurs. Access to guns, specifically, has been pinpointed countless times in academic research as one of the leading correlates to intimate partner homicide.

Some states across the country have implemented “red flag” laws that allow individuals to report intimate partners who have made recent threats or have acted violently, have violated a recent protective order, have demonstrated a pattern of violent acts or threats in the last 12 months, and/or have attempted or threatened to harm themselves or others. They have seen decreases in intimate partner homicide.

Let’s have Utah join the effort to decrease the number of gun-related deaths due to domestic violence.

Michelle Peets, Salt Lake City