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Baltimore Criminologist Says City Suffers From "Gun Epidemic"

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- This week alone, Baltimore has seen several shootings—including two mass shootings in a single day.

The violence includes the murder of a pregnant woman and her fiancé.

"We have in the United States, along with a homicide epidemic, we have a gun epidemic," University Of Baltimore Criminologist Jeffrey Ross told WJZ.

The Baltimore Police Department on Friday provided the public with a glimpse of some of the guns its officers had recovered while attempting to reduce crime in the city.

"These are just a few of the weapons & drugs officers recovered in the past seven days," authorities said in a press statement.

New data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows a historic increase in gun-related deaths in the United States.

The agency reports that gun homicides jumped 35% in 2020—the highest number ever recorded since the CDC started gathering this data in 1968.

"That might be better access to guns," Ross said. "People, during the last two years during the pandemic, have felt that the police have not been responsive. Trust in police has decreased. I think a lot of people [are] taking matters into their own hands."

The CDC report found that young black people are more likely to be victims of gun violence—especially black men.

"They also live in communities where there's high gun violence, high poverty to begin with, so that's why that sort of dynamic has happened," Ross said.

It's a tragic dynamic—one that needs to be minimized and one that requires wholesale changes, he said.

"I think the major issue is access to guns," Ross said.

The report says states that have more robust gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

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