Many gun policy solutions are effective and popular, experts say
While many factors contribute to the scourge of gun violence in the United States, one thing is clear: the data — and the majority of Americans — support laws that significantly restrict access to firearms under certain conditions.
“We currently have evidence-based solutions that are supported by the majority of Americans of varying backgrounds and experiences,” said Cassandra Crifasidirector of research and policy at Johns Hopkins Gun Violence Solutions Center. “We have the tools, we have the support and we must act.”
Crifasi and four of his colleagues from the Center for Gun Violence Solutions discussed policies that have been shown to reduce gun violence while receiving significant public support during a virtual briefing Thursday hosted by Johns Hopkins University. They discussed topics such as proven methods for reducing gun violence in schools, the intricacies of extreme risk protection orders, and the various effects of gun laws on democratic participation.
But they were united in presenting the facts backed by their gun policy research, particularly the demonstrated effectiveness of proposed policies and their support among Americans.
“We currently have evidence-based solutions that are supported by the majority of Americans of varying backgrounds and experiences. We have the tools, we have the support, and we must act.”
Director of Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions
Daniel Webster, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions and longtime gun policy researcher and expert, began by outlining laws that have proven ineffective in reducing gun violence and are, in fact, increasing dramatically. manifests incidents of firearm death and injury. Laws that allow individuals to purchase firearms despite a recent history of violence, for example, or permit the purchase of firearms by people under 21 “facilitate gun violence”, a- he declared. Similarly, laws allowing 18-year-olds to buy guns increase suicides. Similarly, laws that allow people to carry a gun without training, background checks, or permits—carrying without a license laws—have been shown to increase violent crime.
But when laws restrict gun purchases or take guns away from people who pose a risk to others, gun deaths go down.
“Laws that temporarily bar those convicted of violent crimes or those subject to domestic violence restraining orders [from purchasing or possessing firearms]we have found, reduce homicides,” he said, adding that “early studies are very encouraging and show that these laws can interrupt planned mass shootings, political violence and, more commonly, suicide attempts. “.
And these tried-and-tested policies, Crifasi said, aren’t as divisive as the media portrays them to be. Since 2013, the center has regularly conducted a national survey of gun policy, focusing on issues that go to the heart of what Americans think about gun policy.
“Many Americans, including the majority of gun owners, support evidence-based policy,” she said.
Among these policies, Crifasi said:
- Laws requiring a gun buyer to obtain a license from law enforcement to verify their identity and ensure they are not prohibited are supported by more than 75% of Americans, 63% of owners firearms and 70% of Republicans.
- Laws that allow for the temporary removal of guns in times of high risk are supported by more than 75% of Americans, more than two-thirds of gun owners and 75% of Republicans
- Laws prohibiting gun ownership by people under temporary restraining orders for domestic violence are supported by 81% of Americans, 74% of gun owners and 80% of Republicans
- Laws banning possession or purchase of handguns by people under 21 are supported by two-thirds of Americans and more than half of gun owners and Republicans
- Laws requiring buyers of semi-automatic rifles to be at least 21 are supported by 73% of Americans, 60% of gun owners and 70% of Republicans
Permissive gun laws, Crifasi said, are also less popular. Only about 25% of Americans overall and a third of gun owners support carrying guns on K-12 school grounds, she said. “To put it another way, more than half of gun owners support restrictions on where they can carry guns,” Crifasi said.
Similarly, states in the United States have lowered or removed restrictions on the concealed carry of firearms, including carrying without a license, Crifasi said, despite lack of support for such policies. “Only 20 percent of Americans and less than a third of gun owners think it’s a good idea to allow people to carry loaded and concealed handguns in public without a permit,” Crifasi said.
Despite this consistent support for certain gun control measures, the challenge has always been to translate this support into legislation by policy makers. “The narrative in our country is that there’s a big divide between gun owners or political parties on solutions to gun violence, and that’s why there’s nothing we can do about it,” Crifasi said. . “I say gun politics is mostly political among politicians.”
Joining Crifasi and Webster for the virtual virtual briefing were other core faculty members at the Center for Gun Violence Solutions Shannon Frattaroliprofessor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Odis Johnson, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools; and Josh Horwitz, co-director of the Center for Gun Violence Solutions. The panel was moderated by Lainie Rutkowvice-rector for interdisciplinary initiatives and professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Watch the archived virtual briefing on gun violence solutions on the Hub.