From Our Team

“Assault weapon” can mean a lot of different things. People often use it to refer to any gun that looks like it belongs on the battlefield instead of in a civilian’s home, regardless of its actual capabilities. “Assault pistol” — the way the Los Angeles County sheriff initially described the gun a man used to kill at least 11 people at a ballroom dance hall in Monterey Park, California, over the weekend — is even less clear. So what is it, exactly? And how does it compare to other guns banned in California? Chip Brownlee and Jennifer Mascia explain.

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What to Know Today

At least seven people were killed in a mass shooting spanning two scenes in Half Moon Bay, California, yesterday afternoon. According to a local elected official, the victims were Chinese farmworkers. [NBC Bay Area]

Hours later, one person was killed and seven were wounded in a shooting in Oakland. [CNN]

Before it became clear that Monterey Park was “apparently just another mass shooting in America,” the familiar dread that it might be a hate crime loomed over many Asian Americans. [The New Yorker]

California’s firearm regulations are some of the strictest in the country. The restrictions can’t prevent gun violence entirely — especially when nearby states have much looser gun laws — but they have helped. [The Washington Post]

Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old coder, is credited with disarming the Monterey Park shooter at his family’s dance hall in Alhambra. [The New York Times]

A dozen people were also wounded in a mass shooting at a Louisiana nightclub. The attack took place less than an hour after the shooting in Monterey Park. [NBC News]

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The police killing of a protester near Atlanta’s proposed “Cop City” training facility is unprecedented in the history of environmental activism, experts say. [The Guardian]

A community policing program in Raleigh, North Carolina, pairs social workers with law enforcement to respond to crisis calls, replacing punishment with intervention. The unit has handled more than 1,000 calls since August 2021. [WRAL]

Right-wing and centrist pundits are mischaracterizing D.C.’s new crime bill. It’s not a traditional reform measure — it’s a corrective to an outdated, often confusing criminal code. [Slate]

Texas college students are calling out their schools for banning TikTok instead of prioritizing measures to make campuses safer. [Insider]

Newport News school officials repeatedly downplayed educators’ warnings about the Virginia 6-year-old who allegedly shot his teacher, according to staffers. The child’s family said last week that he has an “acute disability” and had previously been accompanied by a parent each day he was at school. [The Washington Post / The New York Times]

Philadelphia has talked about piloting a READI violence intervention program since the spring of 2021. Community activists say it could work — if it ever materializes. [WHYY] Context: READI, which launched in Chicago in 2017, has had some promising results. It also has a unique way of measuring success.

Colorado’s gun violence prevention office hasn’t completed any of its mandates since it was established a year and a half ago. Lawmakers are frustrated that there hasn’t been more progress. [Colorado Newsline]


“Studying Gun Violence Is Hard. But Intervention Programs Need Research to Survive”

Critics say there isn’t enough traditional academic evidence to justify government investment in community violence interruption. But the programs are varied and neighborhoods aren’t laboratories, complicating ordinary evaluation. (January 4, 2023)