Resources

Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health developed a map to help community members seeking local options for temporary, voluntary firearm storage. Out-of-home gun storage can be especially helpful to persons in crisis at risk for suicide. As of the spring of 2020, the businesses and law enforcement agencies listed on this map are willing to consider requests for temporary, voluntary gun storage.

The overwhelming majority of gun violence is committed with a handgun, therefore it is essential that public firearm policy address this fact. In Maryland, to qualify for a handgun purchaser license, you must first pass a finger-print based background check through law enforcement and complete a gun safety course. Handgun licensing combined with background checks prevents prohibited people, like felons and domestic abusers, from gaining access to handguns.

 

The web site, A Tale of Two States, details two major studies from the JH Center for Gun Policy and Research that show the impact of handgun licensing on reducing homicides and suicides. Maryland passed a handgun purchaser licensing law in 2013. 

See http://taleoftwostates.com/

 

The online publication, The Trace, delves into the benefits of handgun purchaser licensing (also called ‘permit-to-purchase’) in an article from 2015: https://www.thetrace.org/2015/07/gun-permit-to-purchase-permits-van-hollen-federal/

 

Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act

 

The Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act authorizes a grant program at the Department of Justice to encourage states to establish permit-to-purchase requirements for all handguns, including at gun shows and with private sellers.

 

See https://vanhollen.house.gov/fact-sheet-handgun-purchaser-licensing-act-of-2015

Background checks are necessary in preventing a prohibited person from obtaining a firearm. Background checks are also an integral component of any handgun purchaser licensing process. Most people assume the United States has a federal universal background check system, but there are huge loopholes in this law that makes it easy for dangerous people to obtain a firearm. One such loophole is the private sale exception. In many states it is perfectly legal to buy a gun from a ‘private seller’, perhaps someone met online or at a gun show, without a criminal background check making it possible for a prohibited person to circumvent the system.

 

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence details current federal law and its myriad of loopholes and weaknesses: http://smartgunlaws.org/background-check-procedures-policy-summary/

Gun suicides make up two-thirds of all gun deaths, and yet too often they are left out of the conversation of gun violence prevention.  A great myth that gun suicide cannot be prevented is another hindrance in finding sensible solutions that will save lives. We must work to end not only the epidemic of gun suicide, but also the shame associated with it.

 

A clinical psychologist dispels many of the myths associated with gun suicide in an insightful article from the online publication, The Trace: https://www.thetrace.org/2015/11/gun-suicides-mental-illness-statistics/

 

Studies by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research show that background checks combined with licensing reduce gun suicide: http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/suicide-by-firearm-rates-shift-in-two-states-after-changes-in-state-gun-laws.html

Domestic gun violence is a public health and safety issue. Families are broken and destroyed. Many times, the violence does not end there. All too often, gun violence spills out to affect the entire community. The majority of mass shootings start with a domestic violence incident. We need to work together to educate everyone on the dangers of domestic violence and how it represents a threat to families and communities.

 

A report by Everytown for Gun Safety details the risks of domestic gun violence and the loopholes that exist in current law: http://everytownresearch.org/reports/guns-and-violence-against-women/

 

Prosecutors Against Gun Violence released a report detailing firearm policies that will reduce gun violence by domestic abusers. The report revealed that removing firearms from abusers can reduce domestic violence homicide by as much as 25%.

To learn more about the laws that exist in Maryland and across the country, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a tremendous resource. The Law Center delves deep into state and national laws, analyzes the Second Amendment, and shares up-to-date research and policy studies.

 

Learn more at http://smartgunlaws.org/the-second-amendment/

In Maryland, we are lucky to have the leading center in gun violence prevention research, the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. Their scholarly research focuses on the public health perspective of gun violence. The Center’s research focuses on domestic gun violence, youth and guns, and gun trafficking and enforcement.

 

Learn More: http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/index.html

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