Featured Story

At least 158 active-duty soldiers died by suicide in 2023, part of an ongoing crisis in the ranks fueled by firearms. But the Army is limited in its ability to intervene because of gun laws: Even if a soldier is found to be “high risk,” the Army can only prohibit them from using military-issued weapons, and it has no say over personally owned guns and no power outside the base. [The New York Times/The New York Times]

Public Health

Today, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on gun violence in which he warned of its far-reaching effects. It’s the first publication from the Office of the Surgeon General focused exclusively on gun violence. 

The advisory comes a year and a half after The Trace first reported in December 2022 that a group of former surgeons general called on President Joe Biden to direct Murthy to issue a report on gun violence. “And yet, unlike for homelessness, opioids or other determinants of health, there has never been a U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on gun violence in America. Not one,” they wrote to Biden. While the advisory is not a full Surgeon General’s Report, which entails a longer, comprehensive review, it could draw resources to the issue and influence public policy.

The landmark publication includes a plan to mitigate gun violence by using successful strategies from other public health crises, like fatal car crashes and smoking. It highlights the need for increased research funding and better data collection, calls for increased access to affordable mental health care and substance use treatment, and it backs legislation for universal background checks and safe storage requirements.

Read more from The Trace →

The Industry

A Georgia jury has found New Hampshire-based gunmaker SIG Sauer liable in the shooting of a man who claimed his P320 pistol fired when he did not pull the trigger. The jury also awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million in damages.

It’s the second of several dozen lawsuits involving the company’s flagship handgun to go to trial, and the first in which a jury found that the gun was defectively designed.

Read the latest from The Trace’s Champe Barton.

What to Know Today

A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that police shoot and wound about 800 people each year. The researchers said that the lack of high-quality, official federal data makes it difficult to hold police departments accountable, and some data shows that many shooting victims are not charged with crimes, raising the question of whether those shootings were in self-defense or the result of excessive force. [Undark]

More gun cases await the Supreme Court following last Friday’s 8-1 ruling that upheld the gun ban on people legally deemed dangerous, including domestic abusers. Upcoming cases include a challenge to a federal law barring nonviolent felons from having guns and another that prohibits users of illegal drugs from doing the same. [NBC]

Pittsburgh held a groundbreaking ceremony over the weekend for a new structure to replace the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 worshippers from three congregations were murdered on the morning of October 27, 2018, in the deadliest act of antisemitism in U.S. history. The new complex will include a memorial, sanctuary, cultural center, educational center, and museum. Organizers plan to have the project completed by the end of 2026. [Associated Press]

Pro-gun groups and gun safety advocates are launching voter mobilization drives in the lead-up to this year’s presidential election. While the National Rifle Association, which has been reeling from legal problems and financial decline, is not expected to be as prominent as it has in past elections, other groups are seeking to fill the void. Meanwhile, Everytown for Gun Safety, which claims to have nearly 10 million supporters, is pushing for Biden’s re-election. [The Guardian] (Through its nonpolitical arm, Everytown provides grants to The Trace. You can find our donor transparency policy here, and our editorial independence policy here.)


After Shooting, Pittsburgh Leaders Grapple with State Curbs on Local Gun Laws: In the wake of the Tree of Life attack, the City Council is trying to find its way around NRA-backed preemption statutes. (October 2018)