Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Dean Ellen MacKenzie recently stated, “The next few weeks and months will be critical in the effort to save lives from gun violence. I encourage everyone to consider ways to get involved, including by joining national efforts to advance evidence-based policies.” We couldn’t agree more.
Since the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, legislators have once again turned their attention to gun violence and policies that can prevent it. Importantly, national dialogue has focused on Gun Violence Restraining Orders (also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders), a policy that the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy developed in 2013 and outlined in the report, “Guns, Public Health, and Mental Illness: An Evidence-Based Approach for State Policy.” A 30-state push for ERPO-style legislation was announced today, and four states (Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, and New Jersey) held hearings on ERPO-style legislation just this week. It is because of your work that we are able to direct legislators to evidence-based policies such as ERPO.
This has also culminated in a surprising national push right here in Washington, DC. Just this week, we have seen a push come from a variety of places – from a bipartisan call from the House, from unfamiliar allies in the Senate, and even from the White House.
Many of our Consortium members are engaging with the press and sharing their expertise. In case you missed it, Dr. Jeffrey Swanson (Duke University) recently released a video on gun violence and Extreme Risk Protection Orders. Dr. Amy Barnhorst (UC Davis) had an op-ed in the New York Times, “The Mental Health System Can’t Stop Mass Shooters,” and was featured on their podcast “The Daily” to talk about mental health and mass shootings.
Thank you for your dedication to gun violence prevention research and policies. We encourage you to continue sharing your knowledge and expertise, and if we can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out.