We turn off the news and drive
through Baltimore Cemetery
to search for your ancestors,
but all I see are angels
on crumbling marble:
Here’s an antidote to the overabundance of armchair speculations on gun control all over Facebook. The two-day summit on gun violence organized by Johns Hopkins University concluded yesterday, and with a long list of recommendations from their panel of experts to show for it. Here they are:
Yesterday was day one of Johns Hopkins’ big-deal gun policy summit (and also the one-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings), and it was marked by some big-deal events: Michael Bloomberg calling for gun trafficking to be made a felony, and Governor O’Malley announcing his plan for sweeping new gun control laws for Maryland. The summit’s attendees (as well as those watching from home via the live webcast) had strong reactions to the various expert opinions about how to reduce gun violence in the United States. Some of the most intriguing reactions are below. Did you watch? What did you think?
All 50 states require cosmetologists (hairdressers) to be certified. Only 17 states require gun dealers to be certified #jhugunpolicy
— Sarah(@SarahKhasa) January 15, 2013
At the annual Business Journal summit, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said, “Wind energy” — meaning Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to install wind turbines off the coast of Ocean City — “will pass the General Assembly this session.” The Baltimore Sun reports that the governor himself feels great about his chances with an assault weapons ban. And Miller thinks O’Malley’s “persuasive techniques, of which he has many,” will be enough for the governor to secure the votes to repeal the death penalty.
In the wake of the Newtown shootings, we’ve talked about mental health and the psychology of school shooters; we’ve talked about a culture of violence and the role the government plays in regulating firearms. But next week’s Gun Policy Summit at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health will take a different tack: examining gun violence as a public health issue.
Months before the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Maryland’s General Assembly put together a task force to “[study] gun access laws for people with mental illnesses.” What they found, besides a lot of murky political and legal terrain, was a lack of data linking mental illness — however that’s defined — to gun violence.