Rep. Curtis hopes to prevent gun suicides nationally with law similar to Utah’s

Jul 19, 2022, 3:22 PM | Updated: 3:26 pm
do not sell list...
Rep. John Curtis explains his efforts to make national a Utah gun law that allows someone to place themselves on a do-not-sell list. (Screengrab of interview/KSL Newsradio)
(Screengrab of interview/KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep.  John Curtis is hoping to take a Utah law involving a do-not-sell list to the federal level, to prevent gun suicides.

Just like the law already on the books in Utah, he’s proposing a bill to allow those experiencing a mental health emergency to voluntarily put themselves on a do-not-sell list. The bill is called the Preventing Suicide Through Voluntary Firearm Purchase Delay Act.

The bill is co-sponsored by Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07).

Curtis told KSL NewsRadio’s Inside Sources that when Jayapal approached him about the bill, he had to do research into it.

“I didn’t know that we lose almost 24,000 people a year to suicide by gun … That’s 65 a day,” Curtis said.

Why the bill matters

“Suicide attempts are 140 times more likely to be successful if the person has a gun,” Jayapal told Inside Sources. “This is our ability to save lives.”

“If they went in to buy a firearm after they had done this, they would be prohibited from doing that,” Rep. Curtis told KSL NewsRadio. “Of course, it could be undone.”

Curtis argued that gun deaths from suicide get very little attention, despite the fact that these deaths involve more people than mass shootings like the one in Uvalde, Texas.

“We’re losing 64 lives a day to suicide by firearm — 64 a day — that’s like two of those Texas shootings every day and it gets almost no attention,” he said.

And he said he thinks addressing gun suicide is a way to curb deaths from guns.

If we want to impact gun deaths there’s no better way than to do it with this.”

“In those moments of [a] terrible mental health crisis, when you’re at your lowest point, when you’re dealing with these situations, you won’t be sold a gun. You won’t have that opportunity to make that impulsive but very long-lasting decision that might take your own life,” Jayapal said.

Jayapal said another bipartisan step to take to prevent gun deaths includes investing more in mental health resources.

Will a national do-not-sell-list bill pass?

Curtis said he thinks Republicans in Congress will support this effort.

“I’m counting on it,” he said.

He also thinks the fact that the do-not-sell-list bill is being co-sponsored by Jayapal, who is the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, means it’s got the ear of Democrats in control of scheduling a vote.

“The fact that it’s co-sponsored by her does increase the likelihood that it will get heard soon,” he said.

In a joint press release, Rep. Jayapal also stressed the importance of addressing gun suicides.

“We are losing thousands of people every year to gun suicide. That’s thousands of people who thought they had no way out, who were suffering.  We can and must solve for this public health crisis which has taken so many lives,” said Rep. Jayapal in the press release. 

“The odds of successfully committing suicide are 140 times greater when there is a gun. Comprehensively addressing the gun violence epidemic in our country means ending gun suicides too. In Washington, where more than 75% of gun deaths are suicides, I’m proud that my home state was the first to pass a version of the bill Congressman Curtis and I are introducing today.”

Watch the full interview with Rep. John Curtis below:


Related: 988 suicide hotline rolls out and will save lives in Utah and the US

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Rep. Curtis hopes to prevent gun suicides nationally with law similar to Utah’s