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SPC Forum to Explore ‘Myths’ of Gun Violence

Gun Control | Gun Violence | Politics

A panel of experts will supply data to provide clarity and a basis for sound policy decisions to the debate over gun violence, organizers said.

SEMINOLE – One reason America seems unable to have a rational conversation about reducing gun violence is that the issue is so steeped in myth and misinformation, according to organizers of an upcoming forum on gun violence.

Because that misinformation informs the political debate about guns, little substantive action to reduce gun violence is likely to occur, the #NeverAgain Movement notwithstanding, they said.

Busting some of those myths is the focus of a forum sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College. The forum, Guns in America: Myth-Busting in Search of Solutions, will be from 6 p.m.-8:15 p.m. Aug. 30 at the SPC Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Advance registration to the dinner event is required.

The massacre of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14 renewed a fierce debate about gun restrictions that has been simmering in this country for years and touched off the #NeverAgain movement that challenges policymakers who have failed to address the violence. More horrific mass shootings have followed, including a massacre at Santa Fe High School in Texas in May that killed 10 and wounded 17.

Each week, it seems, brings another horrific scene of carnage in schools, malls, theaters, and churches as the nation reels from an epidemic of gun violence. These events lead to the inevitable reactions of shock and disgust about the failure to treat mental illness, the lax screening of gun purchase applicants, and the failure of lawmakers to impose stricter controls on guns, especially semi-automatic weapons.

Each of the statements in the above paragraph represents a myth to which a panel of experts will apply actual data to provide clarity – and hopefully sound policy solutions – to the gun debate. Lead speaker will be  Dr. John S. “Jack” Rozel, associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburg and co-author of a study of gun violence titled, The Link Between Mental Illness and Firearm Violence: Implications for Social Policy and Clinical Practice.

Joining Rozel in addressing other aspects of the gun violence equation will be USF St. Petersburg Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Gary Mormino, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Tampa attorney David T. Kronenfeld. The moderator will be David Klement, executive director of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC.

Admission to the dinner and program is $25, or $20 for students and educators. To register, go to, or phone (727) 394-6942.

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