The Anne Arundel County Gun Violence Prevention Task Force (GVPTF) presented its preliminary report, which aligns a series of local proposals to reduce firearm-related deaths and injuries with the latest research establishing gun violence as a significant threat to public health.
The GVPTF report includes a broad range of potential steps that might be implemented in the county, including interventions before gun violence occurs, expanded public outreach, shared data collection and enhanced gun safety measures.
The task force considered a wide range of best practices used elsewhere and did not limit its proposals to whether or not resources exist currently for implementation.
- “I challenged the task force to think outside the box and they delivered,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “I believe that approaching gun violence through the lens of public health is the best way to understand some of its causes. I’m committed to getting right to work on implementing gun violence strategies in the county.”
- The task force was created by Anne Arundel County Executive Pittman by executive order on April 5 of this year to research the issue of gun violence prevention in the county and recommend actionable proposals.
- “For me this is personal,” said Bishop Charles Carroll, GVPTF Chairman. “There isn’t a single day I don’t think about my first-born son, who was killed by gun violence in 2016. I’m looking forward to working on an action plan to get some of these recommendations underway.”
- The state Office of the Medical Examiner reported 209 deaths in Anne Arundel from guns between the years 2013 to 2017. Many of those deaths (67 percent) were ruled suicides, 30 percent were homicides, two percent were accidental, and one percent were law enforcement involved.
- More than half the homicide victims were African American males – 56 percent of the countywide total – with the largest number occurring in the most populated communities.
- “There is a growing call from within the public health community that gun violence has reached epidemic levels that will require public health responses,” said Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Anne Arundel County Health Officer.
- Over the last several decades, an increasing number of public health organizations, academic researchers, and medical groups such as the American Public Health Association, National Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics have determined that gun violence is a major threat to public health.