Researcher suggests ways strengthen DC-area gun laws after Texas shooting

As the Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, mass shootings reignite robust debate on gun laws nationwide, one local expert says lawmakers have a slew of solutions to prevent more gun violence.

Dr. Cassandra Crifasi, deputy director at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, said some policies are already in place, they just need better enforcement.

For instance, D.C., Maryland and Virginia all have extreme-risk protection gun laws to separate a potential shooter from their firearms during times of crisis, she said.

“When someone says, ‘I’m thinking about doing this terrible thing,’ often there is some leakage of a plan,” she said. “We have this tool to intervene.”

Another measure lawmakers should consider, she said, includes boosting the minimum purchasing age of guns from 18 to 21. Both shooters at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde and a grocery store in Buffalo were 18-years old.

“Knowing what we know about the likelihood that an 18- to 21-year-old might be involved in violence, lifting the minimum age for purchase and possession is something we need to seriously talk about,” she said.

D.C. has banned magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. And, Virginia bars guns from government buildings.

Maryland and a handful of states currently requires gun buyers to have a permit to purchase, which requires anyone who wants to buy a gun to undergo a thorough state and federal background check. When it’s time to buy a firearm, they’re required to flash their permit.

Crifasi says more states should adopt it.

“It puts a little more robust system of accountability, screening and identification around the purchasing process,” she said. “That can help minimize the likelihood that a gun might fall in to the hands of a person who shouldn’t have it.”

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