From Our Team

On January 21, a man opened fire at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 people and injuring nine others. Two days later, another man attacked two farms in Half Moon Bay, California, shooting and killing seven and injuring one. The shooters had a lot in common: Both were older men, using semiautomatic handguns to attack people in public spaces, just a few hundred miles from each other.

The similarities prompted a reader to ask if there’s evidence that a mass shooting “contagion” effect exists, and if it could be getting stronger. In the latest Ask The Trace, Chip Brownlee breaks down the data about high-profile shootings, and whether the media spectacle could be making things worse. 

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

In some of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods, high schools are a safe haven for students — but danger still lurks off campus. The city has seen a troubling rise in shootings near school grounds, and in January alone, eight teenagers were shot at the edge of their high schools’ properties. [The Baltimore Banner]

A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled that banning marijuana users from possessing firearms is unconstitutional. [Associated Press]

A corrupt Chicago police officer and his team preyed on residents of a public housing complex for almost a decade, planting guns and drugs and extorting money. Nearly 200 people have been cleared of charges tied to former Sergeant Ronald Watts — who pleaded guilty in 2013 to stealing from an informant — but many victims are still searching for justice. [USA TODAY]

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, crisis responders now field most calls related to mental health and homelessness. It’s part of an effort to stem police violence — Albuquerque’s force has the country’s second-highest fatal shooting rate — but there are limits to what it can do. [The New Yorker]

The leader of a violent neo-Nazi group and his girlfriend were arrested for allegedly plotting an attack on the Maryland power grid. Prosecutors say they planned to attack five Baltimore substations with gunfire. [The Washington Post]

When the Supreme Court decided Bruen, the 6-3 majority weren’t as united they seemed: Justice Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, wrote a concurring opinion that laid out a more lenient constitutional test for gun laws, and preemptively greenlighted a number of restrictions on concealed carry permits. [Slate

Gun laws have an “absence of evidence” problem — not because they’re proven ineffective, but because research on whether they work doesn’t yet exist. That’s thanks to long-standing, intentional roadblocks to studying gun violence. [FiveThirtyEight] Context: The complicated nature of violence makes it uniquely challenging to pull apart, and immensely expensive to study.

Prosecutors won’t charge the officers who shot and killed a 28-year-old man in Ohio who, according to his family, was cleaning out his late grandmother’s home just before police opened fire on him. [BuzzFeed News]

“Boots on the Ground,” a community violence interruption program, is rolling out in four areas of Raleigh, North Carolina, that are particularly vulnerable to gun crimes. The program was founded by a gun violence survivor who also serves as the head of the local NAACP branch. [ABC11]

Data Point

18 — the number of people Albuquerque Police officers shot at in 2022, a record. Ten people, most of whom appeared to be experiencing a mental health crisis, were killed. [The New Yorker]

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