Leah Gunn Barrett of NYAGV.

NYAGV joined public health experts and legislators to discuss policies on mental health and guns at a forum at John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York on November 19.

Titled “Guns, Public Health & Mental Illness: New Approaches to Reducing Gun Violence in New York Through Evidence-­Based Policy,” the forum discussed ways to prevent mentally ill individuals from obtaining guns that would enable them to harm themselves or others.


NYS Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh (at podium).



Panelists included:

• Jeffery Swanson, PhD, Duke University School of Medicine
• Beth McGinty, PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
• Paul Appelbaum, MD, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
• Josh Horwitz, JD, Executive Director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence

Additional speakers included:

• Christopher Ryan – Manhattan Assistant District Attorney
• Leah Gunn Barrett – Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence
• Brian Kavanagh – NYS Assemblyman, District 74

“We need to ensure that those with an elevated risk of violence don’t have access to firearms, whether that’s because of mental illness or any other crisis,” said panelist Josh Horwitz.


GVROs–gun violence restraining orders–were discussed.

At least two bills currently in the New York State legislature are looking at reforming state laws concerning mental health issues that might bar access to firearms.