What To Know Today

“Embarrassing”: Kansas City continues to buckle under violence as shootings spike. The city’s 145 homicides this year are unlikely to surpass last year’s record of 176, but the violence remains devastating. Since November 29, shootings across the greater metro area have resulted in the deaths of 12 people, and the injury of many more. “Isn’t it embarrassing that we, in Kansas City, talk about the fact that we are not going to approach our record-breaking year as if it is a model of success?” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told The Kansas City Star. “This is insanity. This is not success. This is a sign of a substantial challenge to the future of our city and the greatness of our city.” Through its Missouri Gun Violence Project over the past two years, the Star has contextualized gun violence in the city and state by showing its clear connection to inequities in social policy, economics, and public health that disproportionately affect Black residents.  

Parents of student survivors of the Oxford shooting file $100M lawsuit. On Thursday, the parents took to federal court to file a suit against officials at Oxford High School in Michigan and the surrounding school district. Jeffrey and Brandi Franz’s daughter, 17-year-old Riley, was shot in the neck; Riley survived, but four students died in the shooting. The parents allege that school staff acted with a “reckless disregard for victims’ safety in not preventing the perpetrator from carrying out the attack when they had previously raised concerns about his behavior. The suit contends that Oxford students’ had their rights violated under the 14th Amendment. Their lawyers said a second $100 million suit would be filed in state court.

Atlanta public schools to launch safe gun storage campaign. Less than a week after the Oxford shooting, the Board of Education for APS voted unanimously to work with local nonprofits, health agencies, and law enforcement groups to encourage gun owners to store their weapons responsibly. “One of the simplest and most effective ways to get guns off the streets, to prevent suicides amongst youth, and to prevent school shootings is by having parents and family members store their guns securely,” said the school board chairperson during a hearing this week.  

YouTube banned ghost gun assembly videos. But they’re still around. Social media companies have regularly proved unable to enforce their own policies restricting gun-related content. In one case in 2019, we found that YouTube was hosting videos with 3D-printed gun blueprints, and that two months later, the company was still allowing such content to be posted — in violation of its policies. Now, more than two years later, NBC News reports that the video streaming giant is regularly hosting content on how to assemble ghost guns, which also goes against its rules. When NBC News flagged six videos, YouTube took them down, but dozens of other videos that the outlet spotted stayed up. YouTube told NBC News that to enforce its own policies, it relies on “advanced machine learning” and reports from users to spot questionable videos before employees determine whether to take them down.

Black gun owners tell their stories. A photo essay in the Tampa Bay Times features people in a Black gun club explaining why they choose to be armed. “Members of Tampa Bay’s Black Gun Owners and Education group say they are drawn to firearms for sport, for protection and for stress relief,” the article reads. “They come together for community and camaraderie, to compare notes while preparing for competitions, and for the feeling of security.” Related from The Trace: Last year, with NPR’s Code Switch, we reported on the booming National African American Gun Association. Our Alain Stephens joined a companion podcast episode exploring the history of Black gun ownership.

Data Point

258 — the number of Californians under the age of 20 killed in homicides in 2020, up from 214 in 2019. About 80 percent of those deaths were from gun violence in particular. Said one teen about the struggle of her peers who perpetrate gun violence: “Some young people really want help but just don’t know how to get it. They cry for help but no one sees them.” [The Guardian]