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Enlisting doctors to help curb heightened suicide risks. In a new commentary for the Annals of American Medicine, three doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital note that an increasing supply of guns and pandemic-related economic and social dislocations have created a dangerous threat multiplier for gun suicides. They endorse a number of state and federal interventions — including safe storage and more gun violence funding — as well as a step that physicians can take on their own: “At the patient level, clinicians are uniquely poised to identify and mitigate risk for firearm-related suicide. A discussion of access to lethal means, specifically firearms, and how to decrease risk … is essential for [at-risk] patients.”
Denied: A request to allow Georgians to carry guns without permits during the pandemic. Some local police departments and probate judges have decided that processing new applications for concealed weapons permits isn’t an essential function while social distancing directives are in place. A local gun group joined a resident in suing to suspend the permit requirement, but a U.S. District Court judge rejected the request, saying in part that the Supreme Court “has not defined the extent to which the Second Amendment may protect individuals seeking to carry firearms outside the home and in public.”
Tossed: California’s law requiring background checks for ammo. A federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush granted a preliminary injunction against the Golden State’s unique vetting system for ammunition purchasers, which was created via a ballot initiative and went into effect last July. Gun violence prevention groups promised an appeal.
One measure of gun policy research’s growth… RAND’s major new analysis identified 123 studies that met the think tank’s standards for examining the causal effect of gun laws. That was up from 63 in the project’s first edition in 2018. “While there has been limited funding in the space of gun policy research, there really has been a striking increase in studies that have come out in the last few years,” said a lead author.
…And a further indicator of the broad public support for major changes to current gun laws. A survey commissioned by the philanthropic groups Kendeda Fund and Joyce Foundation found that nine in 10 respondents favored requiring a permit to purchase a firearm, a system that goes beyond the background checks in place under federal law. Another 89 percent said they support firearm registration, with 84 percent said they favored waiting periods. (The Kendeda Fund and The Joyce Foundation have provided financial support to The Trace. Here’s our list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)
Virginia lawmakers pass last two gun bills in governor’s package. The five reforms already headed onto the books include a background check expansion and extreme risk protection orders. Governor Ralph Northam had submitted amendments on two remaining measures: one that gives cities the authority to regulate guns in public places during permitted events (which now offers exemptions for colleges and universities), and another that requires abusers served with permanent protective orders to surrender their guns within 24 hours (under the revision, judges can hold people in contempt of court if they don’t comply). The updated bills now return to Northam’s desk.
On April 17, the day most people received their federal stimulus check, Tennessee reported a 303 percent year-over-year increase in gun background checks. — WSMV