New Mexico-Based Experts to Participate

Albuquerque, NM–A panel of New Mexico-based and national mental health, public health and gun violence prevention experts, organized by the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, will convene in Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 10, from 6-8 p.m., to discuss new, evidence-based approaches to keeping guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals. The approaches, including a gun violence restraining order, were first detailed in a research report from the Consortium.

Next Tuesday’s panel comes as part of an effort across the country to highlight the value of the new policy tools the Consortium is recommending to state legislators, as well as to the public. These policies would prevent individuals from purchasing or possessing guns when they are at elevated risk of harming themselves or others.

In New Mexico, someone dies almost every day from firearm-related injuries (326 total deaths in 2013, the most recent year such data is available). Similar to national data, the majority of gun deaths in New Mexico are suicides.

The firearm suicide rate in New Mexico, however, is more than 60 percent higher than the national rate –10.28 deaths/100,000 in New Mexico compared to 6.38 deaths/100,000 nationally in 2013. With improved policies, many of these tragedies could be prevented.

“We need to ensure that those with an elevated risk of violence don’t have access to firearms,” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, the convener of the Consortium, who will participate on next Tuesday’s panel. “Our forum will give New Mexicans the opportunity to hear from the experts and have access to the best available evidence that shows how it is possible to keep their neighbors safe.”

Mauricio Tohen, chairman of the University of New Mexico’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, who will introduce the panel, added, “Gun violence in New Mexico is a serious issue. As an academic institution — and a medical school — we have a responsibility to educate the public about the latest research and to discuss the possibilities for effective policy. In particular, we need to look beyond the stereotypic assumptions about mental illness and gun violence and come to a more evidence-based focus.”

A gun violence restraining order, known as a GVRO, is a promising new strategy developed by the Consortium to make sure that a person in crisis due to a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness or other attributable risk factors does not have ready access to a firearm. A GVRO is a court order that temporarily prevents a person who is at risk of harm to him or herself or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm. This process allows family members to work with law enforcement and the courts to prevent tragedies.

The March 10 panel is open to media, and coverage is welcome. Interview opportunities will also be available ahead of time via phone and on the day of. RSVP is requested; please contact Heather Cabral at


Refocusing Firearm Policies Away from Mental Illness & Towards Stronger Indicators of Risk of Harm


Tuesday, March 10, from 6-8 p.m.


University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center
Domenici Auditorium
1001 Stanford Drive NE


Introductory remarks will be provided by:

Mauricio Tohen

Chairman of the University of New Mexico’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Panelists to include:

  • Lieutenant Glenn St. Onge, Albuquerque Police Department Crisis Intervention Section
  • Jeffrey Swanson, PhD, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Garen Wintemute, MD, MPH, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of California, Davis
  • Beth McGinty, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
  • Amy Barnhorst, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis
  • Josh Horwitz, JD, Executive Director, Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence



The Consortium, a group of mental health and public health experts issued reports late last year to state and federal policy makers making the case for strengthening gun purchase and possession laws to restrict potentially dangerous individuals from having guns.

The Consortium’s epidemiological research identified behaviors associated with an increased risk of future violence, including – among others – prior acts of violence, threats of violence, and a history of substance and/or alcohol abuse.

The March 10 panel is sponsored by University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy and The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) is the 501(c)(3) sister organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The organization has engaged in a number of successful public education campaigns over the years aimed at reducing gun death and injury. The Ed Fund can be found on Twitter.