The Case For Gun Policy Reforms In America
October 25, 2012 08:46 AM
New report from Joyce grantee Johns Hopkins University makes the case for stronger laws to keep guns off the streets.
Each year, more than 31,000 people in the United States die as a result of gunshot wounds. In 2010, firearms were used in almost 338,000 nonfatal violent crimes and more than 73,000 people were treated for gun injuries. But, the true toll of gun violence is not measured in numbers. The victims of gun violence are young people who die too soon, families left to grieve, and community members who feel unsafe in their neighborhoods.
According to The Case for Gun Policy Reforms in America, a new report from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, gun violence in America can be prevented with common sense policy solutions that are widely supported by the American public. The report summarizes existing gun policy research by Johns Hopkins and other institutions.
Among several recommendations, the report argues that ownership restrictions should be broadened to include adults convicted of misdemeanors and juveniles convicted of serious crimes in juvenile court – two groups that are more likely to use a gun to commit a crime in the future. Background checks should be required of all gun purchasers to ensure that prohibited persons do not gain access to dangerous weapons. Under current federal law, 40 percent of gun sales are not subject to background checks. Better regulation and oversight of gun dealers can also prevent firearms from being resold illegally to criminals.
The nature of guns is also changing. Better regulation and oversight of military-style assault weapons and large capacity magazines – magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition – can lessen the impact of mass shootings, in which the perpetrator is more likely to use an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine.
There is broad public support for improved gun policies to restrict gun ownership by potentially dangerous people. A recent Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Luntz Global poll showed that 82 percent of gun owners supported mandatory background checks for all firearm sales. Another poll showed board support for measures to either expand current gun prohibitions for potentially dangerous people or enhance accountability, so that prohibited individuals cannot access a firearm. The same poll found that 58 percent of adults surveyed supported a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Download the report
Johns Hopkins Press Release: Restricting High-Risk Individuals from Owning Guns Saves Lives