Rebate Program Helps Utah Families Secure Guns

Jan 31, 2020, 9:31 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new program hopes to raise awareness about gun safety while making gun safe purchases more affordable for Utah families.

On Friday, Morissa Henn, community health program director at Intermountain Healthcare, shared details about the new rebate program that reimburses Utahns for gun safe purchases.

Its goal is to keep guns away from the wrong hands.

“Here in Utah firearms are widely accessible. They are part of the heritage of our state,” Henn said.

The discussion came in light of separate incidents on Thursday where officials said two boys accidentally shot themselves with guns they found in their homes.

Both children survived and were hospitalized at Primary Children’s Hospital Friday night.

The incidents, one in Brigham City and one in Murray, happened within hours of each other.

In Brigham City, a 9-year-old picked up a gun he found at his grandparents’ house and accidentally shot himself in the head. Meanwhile, a 3-year-old in Murray also suffered a gunshot wound to the head after he found a gun.

Henn said accidents like these serve as a scary reminder for parents about gun safety.

“It is so important to keep guns out of reach of curious kids and impulsive teens,” she said.

Henn said for parents it’s never too early for parents to have a conversation with their children about gun safety.

“In a recent study among parents who said their children had never accessed their guns, it turned out when asked separately 22% of those children had handled their parents’ guns,” Henn said.

To help Utah families, Morissa said the Utah Department of Human Services along with the Bureau of Criminal Identification has a gun safe rebate program that will reimburse 50% of gun safe purchases (pre-tax), up to $100.

“A safe can include things like lockboxes, multi-gun safes, things that require a key or combination to gain access to the firearm,” Henn said.

Utah residents with a concealed firearm permit or that are in the process of getting or renewing a permit qualify for the rebate.

Then they send an email to saferebate@utah.gov for step-by-step rebate instructions.

Henn said it’s an investment all Utahns can afford.

“It’s such an important investment — part of the reason so many people own guns in the first place is keeping their families safe,” Henn said.

While accidental shootings like Thursday’s are extremely rare, Henn said 85% of firearm deaths are suicides. The vast majority (80%) of guns used in teen suicides are owned by a family member.

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Rebate Program Helps Utah Families Secure Guns