New Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence: Reducing Stigma and Promoting Evidence-Based Policies

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 96 minutes
Recorded Date: May 17, 2018
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  • Gun Violence Overview
  • Mental Illness and Gun Violence
  • New Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence
  • Risk-Based Firearm Removal Laws
  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes
Recorded: May 17, 2018


Learn about research regarding the intersection of gun violence and mental health, including risk factors that help identify individuals at high risk of harming themselves or others; policy recommendations based on the aforementioned research; and the legal implications of these proposed policies.

Experts in areas of public health, mental health research, and the law will:
  • Identify several policy recommendations related to firearms and risk of violence and analyze how closely these policies address the evidence
  • Present studies and data that distinguish persons with mental illness from persons at an elevated risk of harm to self or others and discuss mental illness and gun violence
  • Discuss the salient features of a gun violence restraining order, seeking such an order, and the constitutionality of such a policy.

This program was recorded on May 17th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Richard J. Bonnie

University of Virginia Schools of Law

Richard J. Bonnie is Harrison Foundation Professor of Medicine and Law and director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He has co-authored leading textbooks on criminal law and public health law and has devoted special attention during his career to public policies relating to mental health and substance abuse. His first book, “The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States” (1974) was republished in 1999 as a “drug policy classic.”

Bonnie has been involved in public service throughout his career. Among other positions, he has been associate director of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (1971-73) and secretary of the first National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse (1976-80). He recently chaired a Commission on Mental Health Law Reform at the request of the chief justice of Virginia (2006-11) and is currently chairing an Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health Reform for the Virginia General Assembly.

Bonnie was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1991 and has chaired more than a dozen studies for the National Academies on subjects ranging from elder mistreatment to underage drinking, including the landmark report, “Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation” (2007). In 2017, he chaired a study on policies needed to address the opioid epidemic in the United States and is now chairing a study on using knowledge about adolescent development to advance the well-being of all adolescents regardless of social background.

Bonnie has ?served as an adviser to the American Psychiatric Association since 1979, received the APA’s Isaac Ray Award in 1998 for contributions to forensic psychiatry and special presidential commendations in 2003 and 2016 for service to American psychiatry. He has also served on three MacArthur Foundation research networks, including, most recently, Law and Neuroscience. He is also a consultant to the American Academy of Neurology’s Committee on Ethics, Law and Humanities.

Bonnie received the University of Virginia’s highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, in 2007.

Jeffrey Swanson, PhD

Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine

Jeffrey Swanson is Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.

He earned a PhD in sociology from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in mental health services research at Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Swanson is the author or coauthor of over 200 publications focused on the epidemiology of violence and serious mental illnesses; effectiveness of community-based interventions and services for adults with schizophrenia and other serious psychiatric disorders; laws and policies to reduce firearms violence; involuntary outpatient commitment; and psychiatric advance directives. He received the 2011 Carl Taube Award from the American Public Health Association and the 2010 Eugene C. Hargrove, MD Award from the North Carolina Psychiatric Foundation, both for outstanding career contributions to mental health research. He was awarded a NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grant from the Brain and Behavior Foundation in 2013, and an Independent Research Scientist Career Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2004.

Dr. Swanson is currently Co-Director of the NIMH-funded UNC-Chapel Hill/Duke Postdoctoral Training Program in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Systems Research. He is the principal investigator of a multi-state study on firearms laws, mental illness and prevention of violence, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Program on Public Health Law Research (PHLR), and the Brain and Behavior Foundation. He is a key consultant and member of the PHLR program's Methods Core. He was a member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mandated Community Treatment. Dr. Swanson has served as a consultant to policymakers at the state and national levels, healthcare institutions, foundations, corporate research and legal firms.

Bethany Lilly

Deputy Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy
Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Bethany Lilly is the Deputy Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. She works primarily on federal policy impacting people with mental illnesses, with a particular focus on health care, including Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Lilly serves as a co-chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Health Task Force and represents the Bazelon Center on other national coalitions, promoting and advocating for the needs and rights of people with mental illnesses.

Prior to joining the Bazelon Center, Ms. Lilly was a law clerk with the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where she worked on Medicaid, pharmaceutical regulation, and civil rights issues.

Ms. Lilly also worked as a legal fellow at the Center for Medicare Advocacy where she researched and wrote about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. She was a co-recipient of the 2014 National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ John J. Regan Writing Award for her article discussing long-term Medicare financing issues. While completing her J.D. from Duke University School of Law, Ms. Lilly worked at the AIDS Policy Project advocating on behalf of people living with HIV in North Carolina and the Southeast.

Beth McGinty, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. McGinty’s research focuses on how health and social policies affect mental health and substance use. She is interested in integration of behavioral, somatic and social services for people with mental illness and substance use disorders. She also studies policy issues at the juncture of behavioral health and criminal justice policy. Her research examines implementation and outcomes of Affordable Care Act and other policy initiatives designed to integrate the financing and delivery of services for vulnerable populations, for example Maryland’s Medicaid Health Home program for persons for persons with serious mental illness; state-level efforts to enroll justice-involvement populations in Medicaid; how policies to prevent people with serious mental illness from having guns affect stigma, mental health treatment seeking, and gun violence; how health and criminal justice policies can reduce non-medical use of prescription pain medications; and how illegal drug markets affect community violence.

In addition, Dr. McGinty has an overarching interest in policy communication, public opinion, and message framing. She conducts public opinion and experimental message framing research focused on mental illness, addiction, stigma, and violence.

At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. McGinty is a core faculty member in the Institute for Health and Social Policy, Center for Gun Policy and Research, and the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research, where she serves as Deputy Director. She completed her PhD in Health and Public Policy from the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2013 and was awarded a MS in Health and Behavior Studies from Columbia University in 2006.

Adelyn Allchin

Director of Public Health Research
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Adelyn Allchin has served as the Director of Public Health Research at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) since February 2018. Prior to that, she served as a Public Health Analyst at CSGV from June 2015 to January 2018.

Adelyn has five years of professional public health experience, with a background in veteran’s health, clinical research, and social epidemiology. She is passionate about translating research to create, implement, and evaluate evidence-based policies that will improve public health. In particular, she collaborates with a diverse array of researchers, advocates, and mental health practitioners through the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy to develop model policies to destigmatize the association between violence and mental illness by broadening the policy focus to proven risk factors for dangerousness.

Adelyn received a bachelor’s degree in statistics and Italian from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and earned a Master of Public Health with a focus in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2015. In her free time, she enjoys running, photography, and taking improv classes.

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