A recent analysis of the lobbying activity of Johns Hopkins University found a conflict in the institution’s priorities. According to the Baltimore Sun, Hopkins spent $581,000 in the 2019 legislative session in its effort to convince lawmakers to approve an armed police force.
This was a 58 percent increase from the prior session spending and made the University the third-biggest spender for Maryland’s 2019 General Assembly session. The proposal was met with controversy in the legislature, and on campus, where students held protests against the armed police force.
Their efforts paid off, with Gov. Larry Hogan signing the approval into effect for July 1. Hopkins can now create a police force of up to 100 armed officers for the campus and adjacent residential streets.
This is odd for the home of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, part of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, a center devoted to the promotion of gun control. This center’s activities aren’t limited to the publication of research, as one would expect from a University.
Lobby Against Gun Ownership
It also boasts of various state and federal lobbying activities, and of grassroots programs such as the Summer Youth Institute, “a 3.5 day workshop where youth will work directly with Center faculty to learn how to translate gun policy and research into action, inform advocacy efforts, and pursue actionable change within their own communities.”
Looking at federal expenditures alone, the University has already spent $130,000 this year on issues including firearms. Last year the institution spent $660,000 and in 2017, it spent $800,000.
So while the institution will now have guards protecting the campus with firearms, will Hopkins also continue to declare that firearms are the problem in society?
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.