Commentary: Easy access to guns leads to higher youth suicide rates

Commentary: Easy access to guns leads to higher youth suicide rates

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gov. Gary Herbert and others announce the creation of a community teen suicide prevention task force to combat the state’s rising youth suicide problems during a press event at the Utah Capitol on Wed. Jan. 17, 2018. Also pictured are Rep. Steve Eliason, left, and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, at right, who will co-chair the task force and Troy Williams, executive director for Equality Utah, in background. When I began working on the issue of responsible gun legislation in 2012, I did not fully understand what I was up against. Raised in an LDS family, my Republican parents were not gun people. I soon learned how partisan the issue was, with Utah prime territory for intense gun rights fervor. It seemed the task before us was to hold back a never-ending tide of nonsensical gun bills, including the predictable annual appearance of a “constitutional” carry bill. I encountered pushback from what felt like every angle, received disturbing hate mail, and at times feared for my family’s safety. I deliberately turned my attention to the most salient problem, a top priority which would hopefully garner support from both sides. With the leadership of Dr. Claudia Fruin from the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and financial support from the University of Utah Department of Pediatrics, we launch Bullletproof Kids Utah in early 2014. We held focus groups and took pains to find ways to reach our target audience — gun owners. […]

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