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This report is the product of the Reducing Violence, Building Trust: Data to Guide Gun Law Enforcement in Baltimore project. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research (JHCGPR) collected and analyzed data relevant to the enforcement of laws restricting the possession of firearms by prohibited individuals and unlawful carrying of concealed firearms to provide data-driven recommendations for more fair and effective practices. The project was designed to help inform the response to the dual crises in Baltimore—extraordinarily high rates of gun violence, and gun law enforcement practices that, in some cases, have violated the law and more generally weakened community members' trust in the police.
This report calculates state‐level annual incidence of fatal mass shootings from 1984–2017. The analysis suggests that laws requiring firearm purchasers to be licensed through a background check process supported by fingerprints and laws banning large‐capacity magazines are the most effective gun policies for reducing fatal mass shootings.
There is a major flaw in federal firearm laws in the U.S. and in most states' laws; prohibited purchasers can acquire firearms from unlicensed private sellers without subjecting themselves to background checks and record-keeping requirements. Violent criminals and traffickers exploit this weakness with fatal consequences. This report discusses the need to improve background checks and handgun purchaser licensing laws which would result in reduced gun deaths.
Compared to many other states, Illinois has relatively strong firearm laws. Nonetheless, there are several ways in which Illinois could further strengthen its laws to reduce the diversion of guns for criminal use and gun violence. This report is comprised of three main section. First, it provides an overview of current law in Illinois related to standards and processes for obtaining a Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) license, background checks, drug and alcohol related prohibitions, domestic violence prohibitions, extreme risk protection orders, and concealed carry of firearms. Second, we review existing evidence on the effectiveness of firearm-related laws including the impacts of purchaser licensing to reduce diversion and homicide, domestic violence restraining orders and intimate partner violence, discretion in issuing concealed carry licenses, extending prohibitions to individuals with multiple alcohol-related convictions, and local community-based interventions to reduce gun violence. Third, we conclude the report by offering ten evidence-based recommendations to reduce gun violence in Illinois.
Baltimore has long been plagued by high rates of homicides, with guns playing an important role. City and law enforcement officials in Baltimore have attributed much of the gun violence to the illegal drug economy and the availability of guns for criminal use. For many years, the most visible and direct approaches employed by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to curb gun violence have focused on enforcement of drug laws to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trade. In the most ambitious and resource-intensive efforts, the objective of law enforcement actions has been to "take down" or severely weaken organized groups selling illegal drugs through targeted arrests and prosecutions. Such efforts are intended to both remove violent criminals from communities and, ideally, deter violent crime. Most of these targeted drug law enforcement efforts have been place-focused, targeting "hot spots" for homicides and shootings. Within these hot spots, there is often some degree of targeting of individuals believed to be important drivers of gun violence, based on intelligence gathered, individuals' histories of criminal offending, and individuals' criminal associates.In the early 2000s, Baltimore City leadership encouraged aggressive enforcement of drug laws, resulting in the arrests of tens of thousands of individuals for drug possession and drug distribution. However, beginning mid-2007, the BPD shifted its focus to initiatives aimed at apprehending violent criminals and targeting illegal gun possession. We used data from January 1, 2003, through December 23, 2017, to estimate the effects of place-focused policing and prevention initiatives that were focused on criminal offending involving guns and/or drugs to estimate the effects of those interventions on homicides and nonfatal shootings. An overview of the specific interventions assessed in this study follows.
arrying a concealed handgun in public has the potential to enable would-be victims of violent crime to thwart attempted acts of violence, but also poses potential threats to public safety. Because of these potential threats, states have historically regulated the carrying of concealed firearms. These regulations have included requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon and basing the issuance of these permits on whether applicants met training, safety, and even personal character requirements. Additionally, states have limited the places in which the permit holder could carry a concealed firearm.
This report reviews the evidence surrounding the relationship between civilian gun carrying and violent crime and mass shootings and factors that are unique to public safety on college campuses. Policies removing restrictions on civilian gun carrying are based on claims or assumptions about civilian gun use, the impact of state Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws, and the nature of mass shootings that are not supported by or are contrary to the best available research. The incidence of civilian self-defensive gun use (SDGU) is difficult to discern as available data are based on self-report, and distinguishing aggressor from victim in interpersonal altercations can be highly subjective. Nonetheless, data from the National Crime Victimization Survey indicate that SDGU is relatively rare (about 102,000 self-reported incidents per year affecting 0.9% of all violent crime victimizations) and is no more effective in reducing victims' risk of injury than other victim responses to attempted violent crimes. Research led by John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, suggesting that RTC laws prevent violent crime has important flaws that biased his findings. The most recent and rigorous research on RTC laws that corrects for these flaws consistently finds that RTC laws are associated with more violent crime. These findings may seem counterintuitive because concealed-carry permit holders have, as a group, low rates of criminal offending and must pass a background check to ensure that they do not have any condition, such as a felony conviction, that prohibits firearm ownership. But, in states with low standards for legal gun ownership, legal gun owners account for the majority of persons incarcerated for committing violent crimes with firearms.