Thank you for visiting The Trace. For those encountering our journalism for the first time, or wondering what we are all about, here are the basics:
We are a small nonprofit newsroom staffed by the only team of journalists whose full-time beat is covering guns in America. Our primary focus is gun violence, an epidemic that results in the deaths or injuries of 110,000 people every year in the United States. But that means we also naturally write stories about gun policy, the gun lobby, and gun culture. We report on the policing of gun crime. We tell human stories about people who are shot and about their recoveries — and about people working to address the problem .
We are independent and nonpartisan, which means we do not advocate for any specific cause or policy. We strive to cover our issue with fairness, and with respect to the millions of American gun owners. But we do not shy away from reporting objective truths: That Americans, especially those who live in a handful of major cities, die from gunshot wounds at rates unheard of in other developed nations. That shootings devastate families and communities and drain billions of dollars from local, state, and federal governments. That the National Rifle Association stokes fears of the threats that “good guy” Americans supposedly face from immigrants, from the media, and from Democrats, to name a few — while exerting incredible influence on local, state, and national lawmakers.
We publish our journalism on our website and in collaboration with other news organizations. We encourage you to please, as a next step, sign up for our newsletter, which showcases our daily and weekly coverage, as well as deep-dive stories and projects that takes months or more.
Investigative reporting is at the core of what we do. For the past 18 months, for example, Mike Spies has examined how the gun lobby has unwound restrictions on carrying firearms in public places, how it stops new laws from being passed, and its role in backing “stand your ground” bills. On Thursday, Mike appeared on Fresh Air to discuss his series, which is called “The Gunfighters.”
The Trace has gotten more attention this week than usual, for a terrible reason: the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds more wounded. We’ve worked long hours this week, producing stories that highlight examples of courage and selflessness that cut through the carnage and describe the long road of recovery that may lay ahead for survivors of the attack. We were the first news organization to spotlight how the “bump stock” flouts federal restrictions on machine guns by allowing civilian assault-style rifles to approach automatic fire (you can read our 2015 feature here) and followed up on that reporting as the devices drew national concern (here’s our animated explainer, produced in partnership with the interactives team at The New Yorker, on how the products change guns to which they are affixed).
Rampage attacks are horrifying to the public, and to victims and families, devastating. We are committed to covering them. But we do so with this knowledge: they are not an especially good proxy for the epidemic of gun violence in America. In any given week, there are over 200 more gun homicides than the massacre on the Las Vegas Strip. These “everyday” victims of gun violence are shot by rivals, friends, strangers, family members, and even children.
Investigating America’s gun violence crisis
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You can find more facts about gun violence in America in our annual stats roundups, our compilations of data on how guns affect domestic-abuse victims, children, and suicidal persons, and in this post we published on our two-year anniversary this June, in which we shared dimensions of the issues that have most surprised us. One of those is the staggering number of Americans living with gunshot wounds. In an ongoing project called “Shot & Forgotten,” reporter Elizabeth Van Brocklin is asking people who have been wounded in a shooting to talk about their recovery. (If you fit this description, and are willing to share, we would love to hear from you.)