In this Dec. 27, 2012 file photo, Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher from Highland Elementary School in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training with a .357 magnum from personal defense instructor Jim McCarthy in West Valley City, Utah, where teachers and administrators are allowed to bring guns to school. State lawmakers are advancing a measure that attempts to prevent suicides by giving concealed-carry permit holders a state rebate on purchases of gun safes. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
The Salt Lake City Tribune
A House committee unanimously passed a gun-safety program aimed at preventing suicides that includes state rebates for some purchases of gun safes.
HB134, which now moves to the full House, would create firearm safety literature, covering topics such as safe storage and handling of guns and suicide prevention, to be packaged with cable gun locks and made available free of charge. It would also provide rebate vouchers for between $10 and 200 for concealed-carry permit holders who purchase gun safes.
The bill will cost $900,000, which will come from excess funds already collected from concealed-carry permit fees.
Bill sponsor Rep. Steven Eliason, R-Sandy, said Utah ranks fifth in the nation in youth suicides and that, as of 2011, 45 percent of fatal suicide attempts are committed with firearms. He said there are factors that lawmakers cannot alter to prevent suicides, but they can work on gun safety.
"It has nothing to do with taking guns away or mandatory restricting access. It’s simply an education program aimed primarily at parents to talk about the risks of not properly securing your firearms," Eliason said.
He said one-third of youth who committed suicide had faced a crisis in the past 24 hours and 85 percent of youths under 18 who killed themselves with a firearm used a family member’s gun.
Child psychologist and University of Utah professor Doug Gray who studies suicide, said teenagers are impulsive and many suicides that occur after a crisis are preventable.