Gun violence prevention experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions reacted to news of a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Silvia Villarreal, director of research translation at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said:
“We are heartbroken and enraged at the news of another mass shooting, this time involving children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our thoughts are with those impacted by the horrific event, which is a tragic reminder of why we need lawmakers to implement gun violence prevention policies that can prevent this senseless loss of life.
“Nearly ten years after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, lawmakers have failed to pass meaningful laws that confront the enormity of the gun violence epidemic, so history continues to repeat itself. In 2020, the most recent data available, guns became the leading cause of death for children and teens in the U.S. Yesterday’s tragedy underscores the fact that Hispanic children and teens are particularly vulnerable to gun violence. According to the most recent gun fatality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they were twice as likely to become victims of firearm homicide than non-Hispanic children.”
Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said:
“While we are still learning new information, there are a number of evidence-based policies we know reduce mass shootings including firearm purchaser licensing, gun removal laws such as extreme risk protection orders, and bans on large capacity magazines.
“We also know safe and secure gun storage can protect individuals from gun-related injury and death by limiting access to guns by underaged youth, potential thieves, and individuals within the household who are at increased risk for suicide or violence against others. Safe and secure gun storage means that guns are unloaded and locked in a secure place such as a gun safe or with a safety device like a cable lock every time they are not in use.”
Joshua Horwitz, JD, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said:
“Research shows the 18-20-year-old age group is among the highest risk to commit violence with firearms, yet in most states the ability to purchase these deadly weapons is less restricted than the ability to purchase beer. This is a clear example of how weaknesses in gun laws continue to pose threats to communities across the country. More states and the federal government need to pass laws restricting firearms to persons 21 years of age or older.
“State and federal lawmakers must recognize that these types of tragic events will continue until meaningful, comprehensive, and evidence-based policies are enacted to stop them. If you want to get involved, consider learning more about your state gun laws, joining gun violence prevention efforts, and encouraging elected officials to support laws that will reduce mass shootings such as expanded ERPOs, firearm purchaser licensing, and restrictions on large capacity magazines. If you are a gun owner, we encourage you to store your firearms safe and secure every time they are not in use. This simple act can save lives”