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Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy

Center News and Events

Center Faculty Receive CDC Funding to Study Handgun Purchaser Licensing 

September 2021

Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, received a new, three-year, million-dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study how permit-to-purchase policies impact multiple forms of violence.

Permit-to-purchase laws for handguns, also known as purchaser licensing, are state-level policies that limit access to guns by prohibited individuals. They complement comprehensive background check laws and can strengthen the background check system by requiring prospective purchasers to first apply for and obtain a permit before buying a gun. Several studies have found states with comprehensive background checks coupled with firearm purchaser licensing laws have significantly fewer gun deaths. However, only nine states have permit-to-purchase laws that cover all handgun transfers.

The study will examine the impact of permit-to-purchase laws on youth violence and intimate partner violence. Drawing from multiple data sources, including homicide and nonfatal shootings, suicide, perpetration of violent crimes, weapons offenses, and more, the findings could inform how states and the federal government can effectively enforce existing gun laws to prevent violence.

Youth in the United States experience disproportionately high rates of violence and death, largely driven by firearms, with large differences among racial groups. Rates of firearm homicide are as much as four times higher for Black youth compared to white youth, and rates of firearm homicide among Black youth have been increasing since 2014.

Intimate partner homicide is a leading cause of violent death for women in the United States. From 2010 through 2017, approximately 44 percent of women and 5 percent of men were killed by their intimate partner. The majority of intimate partner homicides are committed with a gun.

“This study will strengthen our understanding of permit-to-purchase laws as an effective policy solution to prevent gun violence,” says Crifasi. “It’s exciting to see the CDC funding rigorous evaluations of the impacts of gun policy on violence.”

New Guidelines on Firearm Prevention Educational Priorities for Health Professionals Developed by CONFIRM Consortium

July 2021 

Katherine Hoops, MD, MPH, and other faculty at the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy recently published the first national consensus guidelines on firearm prevention educational priorities for health professionals in partnership with faculty at University of California, San Francisco and universities across the U.S. The guidelines focus on intimate partner violence, mass violence, peer (non-partner) violence, suicide, and unintentional injury and contain specific priorities outlined for different educational domain. A set of health systems improvement guidelines were also identified and cover screening for firearm suicide, implementing appropriate documentation, devising institutional policies for safe handling and storage firearms, and providing training for active shooter scenarios specific to healthcare settings. The guidelines will create a pathway for clinicians to increase their competence and self-efficacy to be better informed and more likely to engage in firearm injury prevention initiatives in their communities and at the bedside.

The CONFIRM consortium convened a diverse group of over 30 subject matter experts from medicine, nursing, and public health to create a comprehensive but adaptable framework for firearm injury education. The guidelines provide cross-cutting, basic, and advanced objectives applicable to all contexts of firearm injury and all medical disciplines, specialties, and levels of training.

A Conversation About ‘Ghost’ Guns: Baltimore and Beyond

June 2021 

A Conversation About ‘Ghost’ Guns: Baltimore and Beyond - June 22, 2021 2 - 3 p.m. ET

‘Ghost’ guns are privately made firearms (PMFs) that can be assembled from kits or 3D-printed and that lack a serial number, have been recovered by law enforcement in increasing numbers over the last few years. Baltimore, in particular, has seen big increases in recovery of privately made firearms (PMFs) that are difficult or impossible to trace. The Biden Administration has proposed a rule to address ghost guns, but there is still a lot we don’t know about these guns on a local, state, and national level. Sheree Briscoe the Baltimore City Police Deputy Commissioner of Operations and Josh Horwitz, JD, the Executive Director of Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence spoke about what ghost guns are, the recent rise in ghost guns in Baltimore, and the importance of the ghost gun discussion at the national level. The panel discussion was moderated by Alex McCourt, Director of Legal Research for the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, and Rebecca Williams, Director of Academic Innovation and Outreach for the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy. Watch the recording.

Watch the Center's Webinars Addressing Gun Policy in the U.S. 

May 2021 

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research is pleased to share two upcoming webinars that discuss gun policy in the U.S.

Policing the Second Amendment - May 4, 2021 noon - 1 p.m. ET

Jennifer Carlson, PhD an associate professor of sociology and government & public policy at the University of Arizona will unpack the complex relationship between the police, gun violence, and race to challenge the tired terms of contemporary gun politics and, in turn, reimagine gun policy. Center research assistants Mudia Uzzi (PhD candidate, HBS) and Nick Meyerson (PhD student, HPM), will share brief reflections and offer questions to Carlson. The event will be moderated by center director Daniel Webster, ScD. Watch the recording

Mass Shootings: Trends, Patterns, and Prevention - May 13, 2021 4 - 5 p.m. ET 

Thomas Gabor, PhD a former professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa contextualized mass shootings in the broader burden of U.S. gun violence. Gabor is an international consultant in criminal justice, specializing in violence and gun violence, and an author of 200 works, including four books on gun violence. The event was moderated by center deputy director Cass Crifasi, PhD. Watch the recording

Celebrate 25 Years of Gun Violence Prevention

March 2021 

The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research has achieved a national reputation for high-quality research, analysis, and evidence-based solutions to prevent gun violence and is a leader in training the next generation of researchers, practitioners, and advocates.  

In recognition and celebration of the Center's achievements, they are organizing a special 25th Anniversary Symposium on March 3, 2021 at 4PM ET. The virtual webcast will reflect on the Center's rich history and achievements and feature dynamic conversations between gun violence prevention leaders and key stakeholders including Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Baltimore City Mayor, Brandon Scott. Hosted by Center Director, Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH and Deputy Director, Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, the symposium will also provide a vision for what lies ahead for our next 25 years in the Center’s efforts to reduce gun violence. 

Register for the event and watch the webcast here.

The Center Welcomes Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, MSN, RN

October 2020 

The Center is pleased to announce that Jacquelyn Campbell, PhD, MSN, RN, Anna D. Wolf Chair and professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing will be joining the center as a core faculty member. She has published more than 295 articles and seven books in her work on public health advocacy, domestic violence, and other research on health risks of other marginalized communities. She is well-known for her research on domestic violence—the most published author on the topic with 151 papers--and the development and validation of the Danger Assessment that helps intimate partner violence survivors more accurately assess their risk of being killed or almost killed by their partner. This tool also helped establish that abuser gun ownership is one of the strongest risk factors for domestic violence homicide and homicide-suicide of women. Her research has been integral in supporting policies that remove guns from known domestic violence offenders. The Center is thrilled to be advancing the work of intimate partner violence with such a distinguished scholar as Dr. Campbell.

Recent Updates with Improving and Implementing Extreme Risk Protection Orders

October 2020

Grant Announcement

Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and core faculty member in the Center recently received a $1,357,336 award (as Co-PI) from the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research to study extreme risk protection order (ERPO) laws, characteristics of ERPO petitions, factors associated with petitions being granted or denied, and violence outcomes within and across six states including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, and Washington. In collaboration with the Michigan State University (and Center alum April Zeoli, PhD, MPH), the multi-state evaluation will provide stakeholders and policy makers greater insight to the use and effects of ERPO laws.

New Report on ERPO Recommendations

Frattaroli, a member of the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, also contributed to a new report-- Extreme Risk Protection Orders: New Recommendations for Policy and Implementation--that examines ERPO law implementation in 19 states and the District of Columbia and make recommendations to improve implementation and impact of these laws. The recommendations include expanding those who can request an ERPO to include licensed healthcare providers, clarifying that youth qualify as ERPO respondents, creating standards around data collection, and outlining opportunities for federal government support for implementation of ERPO laws.

View a full copy of the report, a fact sheet, executive summary, and complete recommendations.

To coincide with the release of the Consortium’s report, the Ed Fund hosted an online conversation open to the public on Wednesday, October 28. Panelists covered the current landscape of ERPO laws, now in place in 19 states across the country and the District of Columbia, the report’s key findings and new recommendations for policy and implementation.

The briefing will be moderated by Josh Horwitz, JD, Executive Director, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence and Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy; Associate Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Panelists will include:

ERPO: A Civil Approach to Gun Violence Prevention Teach-Out

In partnership with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, the Center has helped launch a new Teach-Out on Extreme Risk Protection Order laws!

ERPO: A Civic Approach to Gun Violence Teach-Out provides a unique opportunity to learn more about this evidence-based approach to reducing gun violence through scientific data and first-person accounts of those who are on the front lines using ERPOs as a tool to save lives.

An ERPO—or Extreme Risk Protection Order—is a civil order with due process protections issued by a court that temporarily prohibits the respondent to that order from purchasing and possessing guns. A court considers an ERPO case in response to a petition describing dangerous behaviors that signal someone is at risk of committing violence against self or others. By temporarily restricting a person’s access to firearms when he or she is behaving dangerously, ERPO provides a legal means for temporarily removing guns from a potentially volatile situation. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have implemented ERPO laws. Law enforcement professionals, family, health professionals, co-workers, and school administrators are different types of people authorized to petition the court for an ERPO depending on the state.

What is a Teach-Out? Good question! Teach-Outs were pioneered by the University of Michigan in 2017 (learn more at Like other online education offerings you may be familiar with (such as our Massive Open Online Course, Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change) a Teach-Out is free, online, and open to the public, however, it’s shorter – only for a couple of weeks! – no quizzes or deadlines, focuses on one topic, and encourages interactive discussions and calls to action in your own community.

This Teach-Out is co-led by Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH, associate professor and core faculty member in the center, Josh Horwitz, JD, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Katherine Hoops, MD, MPH, assistant professor and a pediatrician in pediatric critical care at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Register now for the free learning event before it closes on November 8, 2020. 

Reducing Law Enforcement Violence and Building Trust: Data to Guide Enforcement of Gun Laws in Baltimore

June 2020

A new report released by researchers at the Center finds broad “stop-and-search” practices used for many years by the Baltimore police to look for illegally possessed guns have minimal, if any impact on gun violence. Not only do these practices result in mental and physical harm to those who are unjustifiably searched, they undermine community trust in police.

The research, led by Daniel Webster and Cass Crifasi, also found that residents of communities most impacted by gun violence in Baltimore want more focused and accountable law enforcement to reduce gun violence. Highly focused enforcement of gun laws consistently led to fewer shootings in Baltimore and in other cities where research on focused gun carrying suppression has been studied. The same was true for focused-deterrence initiatives which couple the prospects of incarceration for shootings with social supports to support those at highest risk for committing violence.

The authors also make a series of recommendations for approaches to enforcing gun laws in Baltimore that are focused, effective, constitutional, and respectful of community concerns. Specifically, Baltimore police should adopt a more focused strategy to enforce gun laws that is driven by intelligence and data from criminal investigations; targets high-risk individuals; is led by small teams of officers trained in constitutional policing and working out of police districts; and is conducted with close supervision and oversight to promote trust in the police in local communities.

The report, Reducing Violence and Building Trust: Data to Guide Enforcement of Gun Laws in Baltimore, drew from focus groups and household surveys in West and East Baltimore that experience high levels of gun violence, analyses of law enforcement data in Baltimore, law enforcement practices in other cities, a 2018 review of proactive policing by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and a survey of practices from other law enforcement agencies.

Read more about the report, a Q&A with the report’s authors, and listen to an episode of the podcast Public Health on Call.

Center Faculty Honored with the Excellence in U.S. Public Health Practice Award

May 2020

Rebecca Williams, research associate for the Center for Gun Policy and Research, has received the Excellence in U.S. Public Health Practice Award for her work on the Center’s first Summer Youth Institute in 2019. The Institute, Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change, was originally developed to provide tools and opportunities to support the youth advocacy movement after the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The award--given by the Office of Public Health Practice and Training at the Bloomberg School--recognizes faculty, staff, and students each year for outstanding public health practice contributions. These awards are given in recognition of a practice effort that has made or has great potential to make a sustained impact on a health-related outcome.

Williams collaborated directly with key stakeholders and advocacy organizations to disseminate information about the program, facilitated the application process, and helped develop the core curriculum for the Institute including organizing guest speakers. Because of Williams’ efforts, fifty-one high school students from twenty-one states and forty-nine cities across the country came together for a four-day workshop in Baltimore to learn about gun violence, policy, and how to effectively use data and advocate for change.

As a result of participating in the Summer Youth Institute, many of the participants have become even stronger youth leaders with many taking leadership roles within gun violence prevention programs, testifying in state legislatures and congressional hearings. By providing youth with the skills and tools necessary to understand key scientific data, focus on research, and appreciate gun violence as a public health issue, the next generation is invited to be a part of the policy reform process. “We built friendships, family-tight bonds, and movements because of the hard work that Rebecca put in to make the Summer Institute a success,” said one Summer Youth Institute alumni.

Williams and faculty in the Center are organizing the second Summer Youth Institute this year. Due to safety concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Institute will be held virtually. Williams continues her dedication to public health practice by not only increasing the number of students who can participate in the program, but transitioning the entire Institute online. This form of public health practice supports the formation of strong youth relationships transcending racial, economic, financial, and geographic divides.

The Center was also recognized for its work on the Summer Youth Institute and was awarded the 2020 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Partnership Award for Excellence in U.S. Public Health Practice.

Brooke's Briefing on Addressing Gun Violence During a Pandemic

May 21, 2020 at 7pm EST

Daniel Webster will join Delegate Lierman and a group of experts for a discussion on violence intervention and prevention programs, and why we need to invest in them more heavily to decrease gun violence in Baltimore - especially during a pandemic. This panel will discuss the work that violence intervention and prevention programs are doing during the pandemic, the impact of these programs on crime in Baltimore, the national conversation around funding for these programs and promising results from a variety of states, and the broader research and outcomes associated with violence intervention and prevention work.

Other participants include Karen Herren, Legislative Director for Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence; Mike McLively, Senior Staff Attorney Director of the Community Violence Initiative at Giffords Law Center; Greg Jackson, National Advocacy Director for the Community Justice Action Fund; and James Timpson (JT), Director of Youth Works and Crisis Intervention for ROCA Baltimore.

Register here

Sandy Hook Promise Webinar Series

Gun Violence Prevention During COVID-19: Know the Signs While Physically Distancing
May 13, 2020

As schools around the country announce long-term closures, children are spending more time at home, many of them with unsecured guns. A conversation featuring center deputy director Cassandra Crifasi and Liz Murphy, National Policy Director for Sandy Hook Promise, focused on providing background on the issue of safe firearm storage within the context of COVID-19 and provide resources for gun owners and non-gun owners alike. 

Watch the webinar.

Delaware Gun Violence Forum

January 9, 2020
Wilmington, DE

Daniel Webster will join a group of experts to discuss Delaware-specific firearm data and ground-level experiences from prosecutors  and defense attorneys, state and local law enforcement, firearms experts, gun shop owners, physicians and others. Webster will present information on training and licensing requirements in other states and the effects of those policies on gun violence.  

Gun Violence Prevention Forum

December 12, 2019
New York City

Daniel Webster will join a group of local and national health care leaders, hospital administrators, clinicians, and researchers to continue efforts combating gun violence. He will be talking about gun violence as a public health crisis with Dr. Susan Bornstein, Regent of the American College of Physicians. For more information on the forum, please visit the event page.

Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit

November 8, 2019
Philadelphia, PA

Both Drs. Daniel Webster and Shannon Frattaroli will be giving a talk at the Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit on gun licensing, ERPO laws and what are the best practices for covering these policies and gun violence in the media. Learn more about the event here

Building Momentum: The Bloomberg American Health Summit

November 12-13, 2019
Baltimore, MD

The 2nd annual Bloomberg American Health Summit — to be held November 12-13 in Baltimore, Maryland — will bring together advocates, experts, and policymakers from across the country to address challenges to health in five focus areas: Addiction & Overdose, Adolescent Health, Environmental Challenges, Obesity and the Food System, and Violence. 

Fellows and collaborators will spend two days sharing new knowledge and evidence-based practices, and forging connections that will inspire progress and build momentum for change at the local, state, and national level.

Read more about the event, link to the livestream and confirmed speakers here

Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation, 25th Anniversary

November 21, 2019
Portland, OR

Center Director, Daniel Webster, ScD, will be speaking at the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation on Thursday, November 21, 2019. The Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation has worked to reduce the number of gun injuries and deaths in Oregon by educating the public about safe firearm storage, suicide prevention, and through our gun turn-in programs.

Read more about the event here.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on Law and Justice

November 21, 2019
Washington, D.C.

Center Deputy Director, Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, will be participating in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. that focuses on the comparative understandings of mass shootings and criminal gun violence.