Johns Hopkins gets in bed with another gun control group

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Get ready for the gun control lobby’s junk science to get ramped up to a whole new level. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, which is already home to the Michael Bloomberg School of Public Health and its Center for Gun Policy and Research, is now merging its Center for Gun Violence Prevention with the “educational” wing of the gun control group Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

According to CBS in Baltimore, the merger will create the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, which will “look at shootings in the U.S. through a public health lens.” In other words, the academics will be calling for all kinds of gun control, which, to be honest, the university and its school of public health have been doing for quite some time already.

These two organizations have done extraordinary work to prevent gun violence—together, they will be even stronger,” said Dr. Ellen J. MacKenzie, dean of the Bloomberg School. “Our faculty are national leaders in the field, with a proven record of using research to advance meaningful change in both practice and policy. Through the new center, they will take research and advocacy to the next level as they work toward goals we all believe in: fewer gun-related injuries and deaths and safer communities.”

With all due respect to the dean of Bloomberg School of Public Health (and I’ll let you figure out how much respect is due that position), if the Center for Gun Violence Prevention at the Baltimore-based university hasn’t even been able to reduce homicides in its home city to fewer than 300, why should anyone seriously believe that their “research” is going to offer any truly meaningful ways to reduce crime?

And note well MacKenzie’s last sentence: this new center won’t just be conducting biased research. It will be engaged in advocacy as well. And while we all might share the goals of a safer society, this new merger between the private university and a longtime anti-gun group is going to be pushing for “solutions” that make us less safe by depriving us of our ability to protect ourselves.

Don’t forget that despite all the anti-gun advocacy that comes from Johns Hopkins, not to mention all the gun control laws that are currently on the books in Maryland, when it came down to the safety and security of students and staff the university decided its best bet was to put guns on campus, albeit in the form of a campus police department. If the state’s ban on “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines, “may issue” carry laws, and other restrictions aren’t enough to keep Johns Hopkins safe, why on earth should anyone listen to these academic activists when they proclaim that we’ll all be safer when we’re all unarmed?

The new center will be co-led by Daniel Webster, director of Hopkins’ gun violence organization since 2012, and Joshua Horwitz, the executive director of the Educational Fund.

“Our Center will continue to apply strong research methods to assess the effectiveness of strategies intended to prevent gun violence,” said Webster. “With our new colleagues, we will now have even more capacity to bring meaningful policy change through evidence-based advocacy.”

Research topics will include violence intervention programs, licensing for firearms, political violence and “ghost guns.” The group will also track public opinion on policy and violence-reduction programs.

So, not a lot of investigating things like why universal background check laws don’t lead to increased background checks, how “may issue” laws create crimes out of a constitutionally-protected right, or why violent crime is spiking even in cities and states with some of the most restrictive laws in the nation.

Johns Hopkins is a private university, and can partner up with whoever administrators want, but I think it’s a huge mistake for the university to team up yet again with another gun control organization, especially when the stated goal is to advocate for more gun laws. Why should anyone take any research from this outfit seriously given its anti-gun leanings?

Unfortunately, we all know that most media outlets will uncritically report whatever “findings” the university’s anti-gun activists come up with, and the gun control lobby’s propaganda will undoubtably be boosted by this new pairing. Honestly, that’s probably the biggest impact of the merger between Johns Hopkins and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence’s “educational” wing. I certainly don’t expect the partnership to make Baltimore a safer place, though I dare the anti-gun academics to make the city their test case for their gun control strategies. What better laboratory than the university’s own back yard, especially with homicides on pace to top last year’s grim total of 337 lives lost?