Gun symposium recommends background checks, assault weapons ban

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Gun Control

BALTIMORE - An assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines and universal background checks were recommended Wednesday by a Johns Hopkins University gun violence summit.

The announcement came a day before President Obama is expected to announce a two-part gun control package and a month after a shooter killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"We identified a set of recommendations that not only will be effective in reducing gun violence in America, but will also be constitutional and have very wide support among the public, including gun owners," said Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.

The summit also recommended tightening restrictions on those who can buy guns, including prohibition periods for those convicted of violent misdemeanors and multiple alcohol or drug crimes.

The symposium featured two days of talks by academics and researchers on gun violence and potential responses, with opening remarks by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also serves as co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"It is clear that we meet today at a critical and I think hopeful moment," Bloomberg said. "Let us hope that it gets the attention that Washington needs to pay it. This is one of the real big differences between what we have today and a safe, great future for our kids."

Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate of gun control, went on to call for many of the same policies the summit ended up recommending.

The National Rifle Association, along with other pro-gun groups, has vehemently opposed the kinds of measures recommended by the summit.

"It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation's most pressing problems," the NRA said. "We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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Matt Connolly

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner