House Bill 440 - Suicide Prevention and Gun Data Study - passed unanimously in the Utah House Law Enforcement Committee, Tuesday.
The bill authorizes data to be gathered on suicides and gun deaths in Utah, and for that data to be reported to the Health and Human Services Interim Committee. House Democratic Leader Brain King, sponsor of the bill, says it is important for data to be gathered so the state can address suicides and gun issues.
“Speaker Hughes, before our session began on our first day said something that I though was important and note-worthy, and I’ve remembered it. He said, 'We’ve got to make sure we have data that drives good policy making and good decision making as legislators.' He’s right. When we don’t have information that allows us to make intelligent public policies as lawmakers, we need to do what is necessary to gather information. H.B. 440, I believe is a good step in gathering information as necessary.”
Jean Hill, a community member representing the Gun Violence Prevention Center, says the bill is a starting point in getting information about the impact of suicides and gun violence.
“We are very supportive of the bill as well. We do think the data is desperately needed. We don’t want to imply that those with mental illness are more violent than other individuals, but we do think that this is a starting point in getting information.”
Critics agreed the bill should head to the full house for further discussion.