Firearm Policy Proposals in Maryland, 2013 Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH Associate Professor Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Co-Director Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Distribution of Firearm-related Deaths in the United States, 2010 Unintentional: 606 Homicide: 11,078 Homicide Suicide Unintent. Legal Int. Undeter. Suicide: 19,392 Total Firearm Deaths = 31,672 Non-Fatal Firearm Injuries • About 2.3 non-fatal firearm injuries for every fatality • An estimated 73,505 in 2010 (requiring at least ED treatment) Source: CDC, WISQARS Firearm Homicides by Type of Gun, 2010 Shotgun: 5% Rifle: 5% Handgun: 88% Other guns: 2% Handgun Rifle Shotgun Other Gun Total Firearm Homicides for which Type of Gun is Known = 6,836 Maryland Gun Deaths • 538 deaths by gunshot in 2010 (NCHS) • 312 homicides and 222 suicides • Age-adjusted death rate (9.26/100,000) is 17th lowest among 50 states in 2010 Banning Assault Weapons • An assault weapon is a civilian version of a military-style weapon • Maryland currently bans assault “pistols” but not other types of assault weapons: i.e., rifles and shotguns • Federal assault weapons ban allowed to expire in 2004. Evaluation of 1994 Federal AWB • AW rarely used in crime prior to ban (1-8% of all crime guns) • Decrease in use of AW in crime post-ban • Non-significant 6.7% reduction in homicides associated with the law • Copy-cat weapons readily available (Koper and Roth, NIJ Research-in-Brief 1999) Banning Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines • Federal law outlawing future purchase or possession of LCMs >10 rounds allowed to expire in 2004. • Current law in Maryland bans >20 round magazines. • Proposal would reduce limit to > 10 rounds. • LCMs applicable to many more types of shootings than assault weapons. Permit-to-Purchase Licensing of Gun Owners • States with both licensing and registration have a smaller proportion of crime guns coming from in-state (Webster & Vernick, Injury Prevention 2001) • States with licensing laws have much less gun trafficking both within-state and to other states • Maryland does not currently license owners • Governor’s proposal would add licensing Child Access Prevention Laws • Maryland has a CAP Law. • Penalty is currently a misdemeanor (max $1,000 fine). • Bill would enhance penalty to a felony (max 3 years or $5,000 fine) • Good research evidence that CAP laws reduce unintentional deaths among children and teen suicides. • Evidence that stricter penalties help. Mental Health and Guns • Federal law prohibits those “adjudicated as a mental defective” or committed to a mental institution from owning guns. • Information often missing from background check databases. • Most persons with mental illness are not dangerous. Mental Health and Guns, cont. • MD law currently: 30 consecutive days in a medical institution for mental disorder • Governor’s bill would add additional categories, including: not criminally responsible; incompetent to stand trial; involuntary admissions; guardianships • A controversial area: need to balance public safety with desire to minimize stigma and not discourage care seeking Reporting Lost and Stolen Guns • Theory is that requiring gun owners to report lost/stolen guns enhances accountability. • Maryland currently has no such law. • Bill would mandate reporting within 72 hours of discovery. • States with theft/loss reporting have 30% lower rates of gun trafficking. Conclusion • Many evidence-based policies proposed • Center for Gun Policy and Research providing data, testimony, interviews. • Also working at the federal level: universal background checks, etc.