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UT – GUN SAFETY – Amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, a vital need for gun safety and awareness (VIDEO)

Gun and ammunition sales are booming right now, due to a sense of instability around COVID-19 and locally, the earthquake. While there’s no hard data, retailers report a disproportionate number of customers appear to be first-time gun buyers. For the last few years, Intermountain Healthcare has been involved in an effort that brings gun owners together with health professionals, policymakers, researchers, and other community stakeholders to pursue data-driven, “common ground” approaches to preventing firearm suicide, according to Kathryn Richards from Intermountain Healthcare Community Health. In Utah, where guns are extremely popular and available, research confirms that access to firearms is a major driver of our state’s high suicide rate. “All of us are concerned about protecting our families in these uncertain times. However, this is also a time of increased emotional and psychological stress, when suicide risk may be heightened for some people,” said Richards. Suicidal crises are often very brief and unexpected, and not all people who attempt suicide have a mental illness. Richards said this is not an anti-gun or pro-gun position; it’s simply about saving lives. “Just as we would take the keys of a friend who has been drinking, we need to ensure that no person who is struggling—and no child or adolescent—has access to a firearm,” she added.  [full article]

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