Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman signed an executive order creating a new task force to address gun violence in the county. The task force is charged with researching and compiling data on crimes and suicide involving guns and recommending actions to help reduce gun violence.
Pittman announced Bishop Charles Carroll as the chair of the task force. Bishop Carroll lost his son Charles to gun violence in 2016, during a deadly stretch in which 13 people were killed in Annapolis between January 2016 and January 2017. Andrea Chamblee and Maria Hiaasen will serve as vice chairs; Chamblee and Hiaasen are the widows of John McNamara and Rob Hiaasen, respectively, who were killed along with Wendi Winters, Gerald Fishman and Rebecca Smith in the shooting at the office of the Capital-Gazette, in Annapolis, on June 28, 2018.
“As a reporter, John often put his trust in the officials and people of Anne Arundel County,” said Andrea Chamblee. “I am grateful for the chance to participate in this task force on his behalf. I hope the work of this group will make the people of the county safer while protecting their rights.”
“No community is guaranteed immunity from this scourge,” said Maria Hiaasen. “Gun violence is – plain and simple – an insidious public health problem, one that we can mitigate if we systematically gather data, investigate practical solutions, and engage respectfully with a variety of stakeholders. As my family copes with the loss of my husband in the Capital-Gazette shootings last summer, I’m hopeful and proud to be a part of the county’s sincere effort to find practical solutions.”
The task force consists of 20 appointed citizen members representing a broad spectrum of experience and expertise in public safety, emergency operations, behavioral health and community outreach. The task force also includes 16 local government officials acting as ex-officio members. Jennifer Purcell, Pittman’s chief of staff, will represent the county executive on the task force.
The task force’s first meeting is being planned by the end of April, and it will meet monthly through April of next year. The executive order requests a preliminary report from the task force by Dec. 15 summarizing its progress and making any recommendations. The executive order can be found at www.aacounty.org/departments/county-executive/executive-orders/steuart-pittman/SP-9.pdf.