Ann Arundel County May Declare Gun Violence A Public Health Crisis

Among the many pushes we’ve seen from anti-gunners in recent years, one of the favorites of medical types is to talk all about how gun violence is a public health crisis and should be treated as such. The idea is ludicrous, though, at least in part because throughout the nation gun violence rates have been trending downward for years. Why would it be a crisis now?

However, there are places where it’s still pretty bad and seems to be getting worse.

In these places, it’s almost tempting to argue that yes, it probably is something of a crisis. One of those places is Ann Arundel County in Maryland, and they’re considering a measure right to declare it as such.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman is expected to declare gun violence a public health crisis in January as part of recommendations released by the county’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

The task force, which includes county officials, victims of gun violence and gun safety advocates, released its initial 30 recommendations late last week. Those recommendations include supporting gun control legislation, providing additional mental health resources for students and increasing education and awareness measures.

Pittman says he’s spoken to multiple council members who have voiced support for the declaration.

“People are fed up. They’re fed up with being told they cannot do anything about this problem because gun manufacturers don’t want them to. So we’re changing that,” he says.

According to the task force, the state medical examiner’s office reported 209 gun-related deaths between 2013 and 2017 in the county. About two-thirds of those deaths were ruled suicides and nearly one-third were homicides. In 2018, there were almost 300 gun-related violent incidents in the county, according to the task force’s findings.

“People question why a local government would be even doing a gun violence prevention task force,” says Pittman, who is a gun owner. “The answer is pretty clear in this report that there are a lot of directions we can come at this from.”

No, Pittman is not a gun owner. He owns a gun. There’s a difference.

For one thing, gun owners don’t recommend gun control legislation that would hurt law-abiding citizens, which pretty much every gun control measure on the planet does. Especially as the task force in question is pushing for things like universal background checks, mandatory reporting of stolen guns, and what appears to be mandatory storage laws all neatly framed so the media will lap it up.

To be frank, I don’t see much of any of this actually doing a damn bit of good. We all know their “increasing education and awareness measures” are going to boil down to anti-gun rhetoric rather than real, useful education on firearms. They’re going to make guns seem like forbidden objects to kids, which will just drive them to be even more curious.

Look, I get that Ann Arundel County, which is part of Baltimore, is worried about the violence. However, this isn’t the way to solve it. There are far better solutions out there, ideas that would not just reduce violence buy have positive second-order effects as well.

Of course, that would require them to look beyond ideological blinders, something I think is far too difficult for most in the Baltimore area to manage.