Police and mental health experts: Don’t wait to secure your gun

Jul 7, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

LEHI, Utah — Free resources are available to help Utah gun owners secure their firearms and also store them away from a home where someone is having a mental health crisis.

“Around 80% of all gun deaths in Utah are a result of suicide, and for youth, it’s around 75% of gun deaths are related to suicide,” said Doug Thomas, community health director for Intermountain Healthcare. “So our safe storage in Utah really is a suicide prevention strategy more than anything else.”

Thomas said to secure guns now because moments matter during a mental health crisis and they can happen without warning.

“During a divorce or a job loss or an arrest or bad grades or other things happening in people’s lives, and so keeping time, space and distance between the person and lethal means really reduces the risk of suicide,” he said.

Properly securing a gun can also help prevent theft and protect children from accidental discharges.

“If you’re going to purchase a firearm, take the responsibility to have a way to secure it,” said Lt. Bart Smith with the Lehi Police Department.

Options start with a free gun lock, then progress in safety to a lock box, gun safe and storing the firearm away from the home — like at a friend or relative’s home who’s allowed to possess a firearm, or at a shooting range or even a police station.

“If somebody is in crisis or if something is happening and they have nowhere else to take those weapons to keep them safe, then they can relinquish those to a police department,” Smith explained. “And we can secure those weapons until things have settled down and things are taken care of.”

Smith said Lehi Police and most police departments across Utah provide gun locks for free, like the cable-style lock provided by Project Safe Child.

“These are great because they work with nearly every firearm,” Smith said of the cable gun lock.

Smith recommends layering security measures, like using cable locks along with a gun safe, and storing ammunition away from the gun. Also, make sure children don’t know the code to the safe.

“Stay away from the typical stuff — dates of birth, things like that that your kids would easily guess,” Smith said.

In addition to police stations, Thomas said free gun locks are also available at most emergency rooms, hospitals, and mental health clinics.

If you are planning a community event or would like to provide free gun locks at your business, Intermountain Healthcare will provide 50 or more gun locks, along with instructional brochures. You can request them using the gun lock order form.

Other resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Utah Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at Huntsman Mental Health Institute.

You can also text TALK to 741741 and parents, students, and educators can download the SafeUT app chat or call 833-3SAFEUT to connect with a licensed crisis counselor.

  • Parents, students, and educators can download the SafeUT app chat or call 833-3SAFEUT to connect with a licensed crisis counselor.
  • First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals, can chat with a crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app and members of the National Guard can access help through the SafeUTNG app.
  • For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call the Utah Warm Line at 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • At Huntsman Mental Health Institute, women can access maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
  • LiveOnUtah.org, a campaign by the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition offers suicide prevention training and has resources for faith-based groups, youth, LGBTQ+, and Employers.

Other community-based organizations that provide suicide prevention services, support groups, mental health education, counseling services, and support:

Additional crisis hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-226-4433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

The Liberty Sky Apartments...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Why Utah and Salt Lake County could fare better than most in a mild recession

Predicting when the next economic recession will hit or how bad it will be can be difficult, especially in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic upended supply chains and the traditional ways Americans work.

16 hours ago

emergency lights generic...

Larry D. Curtis

Police identify Utah couple killed in apparent murder and suicide

Two people found dead in a home Wednesday night in Hyrum, Utah were killed in an apparent murder and suicide.

16 hours ago

contestants in a pageant...

Ashley Moser

Lehi teen stripped of crown, sash and pageant title after clerical error

A Lehi teen was stripped of her title just three days after winning the Miss Lehi Teen competition due to a clerical error.

16 hours ago

FILE - The Utah Capitol is shown on March 3, 2023, in Salt Lake City. Attorneys representing adult ...

Ashley Imlay, KSL.com and Lindsay Aerts, KSL NewsRadio

Cox, Legislature will move back municipal elections for special election to replace Rep. Stewart

Gov. Spencer Cox announced that he and the Legislature are pushing Utah's municipal elections several weeks later than planned so the state can also hold a special election to fill the seat of retiring Utah Rep. Chris Stewart on the same days.

16 hours ago

Utah Food Bank trucks backed up to a building ahead of its free summer lunch program for Utah kids....

Karah Brackin

Utah Food Bank offering free summer lunches for kids

The Utah Food Bank says 142,000 kids are experiencing food insecurity across the state, and it hopes to help bridge the summer meal gap.

16 hours ago

Cache County deputies at the scene of a fatal shooting in Hyrum, Utah. (Brian Champagne/KSL TV)...

Josh Ellis

Two found dead after shooting at Cache County home

Deputies are investigating after two people were found dead in their home Wednesday night.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

Police and mental health experts: Don’t wait to secure your gun