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For Gun Violence Researchers, Bipartisan Bill Is a ‘Glass Half Full’


Dr. Rosenberg argued that gun violence prevention and gun rights should not at odds with one another. It is feasible, he said, to provide you with policies that protect each the rights of gun owners and public health. Dr. Swanson believes red flag laws are only such a policy. The push for them has been 10 years within the making.

In January 2013, just weeks after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Daniel Webster, a pioneer in the sphere of gun violence research, convened a two-day summit on reducing gun violence.

Together with Mr. Horwitz, Dr. Webster directs Hopkins’ Center for Gun Violence Solutions. Mr. Horwitz runs advocacy, while Dr. Webster oversees academic research. The goal of the summit, Dr. Webster said, was to place together evidence-based “recommendations for what policymakers needs to be doing to handle gun violence in America,” and publish it quickly, to influence congressional negotiations.

However the resulting book — including chapters by Dr. Swanson and Dr. Wintemute — didn’t move members of Congress, who passed no recent laws.

Two months later, Mr. Horwitz convened a research consortium, he said, “to actually think through find out how to cope with this issue of firearms, mass shootings, suicide, without stigmatizing individuals with mental illness.”

Soon, Dr. Swanson, Mr. Horwitz and others within the consortium began traveling the country, promoting evidence-based policies, including red flag laws, to state legislators. In 2014, California became the primary state since Indiana to adopt a red flag law. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia have them.

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