A ‘uniquely American’ challenge: Group of local universities offer ideas to reduce gun violence

Limiting gun purchases, more firearm tracing and expanding gun-buyback programs are some methods that D.C.-area universities believe can reduce gun violence.

The Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area shared its findings as part of The 120 Initiative, a joint effort started by George Mason University and the University of Maryland  last June that put together a group of more than 100 experts together to come up with ways to bring down firearm-related deaths.

The name for The 120 Initiative comes from the statistic that 120 people die each day in the U.S. from gun violence or suicide, according to a news release.

“The 120 Initiative is about crafting innovative, actionable solutions that are based on facts and evidence, and cross all political parties, cultures, races, and geographies,” said University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines. “Gun violence is a uniquely American grand challenge that requires all of our attention if we want a better future for our nation.”

Some of the top recommendations include:

  • Limiting gun purchases and manufacture through tax and business structures.
  • Increasing gun tracing and proactive crime prevention technology.
  • Multiplying and expand gun-buyback programs.
  • Make illegal weapons charges a priority in prosecutions and sentencing.
  • Increase evidence-based searches and arrests targeted at high risk repeat firearms offenders.

“These recommendations are directly inspired by the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, which caused the nation to cry out for someone to do something to finally end the nation’s epidemic of gun violence,” said George Mason University President Gregory Washington. “Our faculties have come together to offer solutions that can be implemented alongside wise legislation, adapted to broad varieties of communities, and address this problem at its roots. We don’t have to feel helpless to the problem anymore.”

The initiative says that firearms are the leading cause of death for children and adolescents ages from 1 to 19 years and that more research is needed to understand how to reduce the rate of gun violence and deaths from firearms in the U.S.

See the full list of recommendations in the initiative’s report.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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