Top Story

President Joe Biden is preparing to roll out an executive action to massively expand background checks for gun purchases, according to multiple aides. Biden plans to make gun violence a central issue in his reelection campaign. [CNN]

School Shootings

It’s no secret that parents are worried about gun violence at school. And in much of America, the response to school shootings has been to put more guns on campus, in the form of armed security guards — even as mass shootings account for just 2 percent of gun deaths. 

Still, widespread worry fuels an active national debate about how to curb these shootings. A reader asked: Are armed guards — sometimes called school resource officers or school police officers — actually a deterrent to gun violence and mass shootings? Laura Esposito looked at the latest evidence.

Read more from The Trace →

Extreme Risk Protection Orders

A sweeping new study found that public knowledge of extreme risk protection order (or “red flag”) laws — and public attitudes toward their implementation — is crucial to how effective and expansive they are. Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 respondents from 19 states that currently have such laws in place, in addition to Washington, D.C. Among their findings: More effective communication about how these laws work can help keep communities safe from gun violence. The study comes at a time when ERPO programs are being developed and implemented nationwide, thanks to incentives from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on some assault weapons in a narrow 4-3 vote. The court did not rule on whether the law violated the right to bear arms in the Illinois Constitution. [Chicago Sun-Times] Context: Illinois’s sweeping gun safety law, passed about six months after the Highland Park mass shooting, faced immediate pushback for its assault weapons ban. But reform advocates have their own concerns about the state’s long-term approach. 

The 5th Circuit ruled that a decades-old law barring users of illegal drugs from possessing firearms is unconstitutional. The decision may have implications for the criminal case against Hunter Biden. [Associated Press] Context: The decision opens the door for people within the appeals court’s jurisdiction and who have been sentenced under that provision to challenge their conviction. Criminal justice reform advocates see rulings like this as a silver lining.

A new study from Rutgers University found a link between concealed carry licenses and gun violence. Researchers examined more than 800 counties between 2010 and 2019, and concluded that an increase in concealed carry permits issued can lead to a higher number of gun homicides the following year. [Gothamist/Journal of Urban Health

The U.S. National Security Council says that Guatemala’s ​​“pervasive violence” and “entrenched networks of corruption” are fueling an immigration crisis. The Commerce Department reports that the instability creates a “unique opportunity” for American gunmakers — whose exports to Guatemala have skyrocketed in recent years, as the number of murders increased. [Bloomberg]

“Stop Cop City” organizers say they’re close to collecting 70,000 signatures on a referendum petition that would allow Atlanta residents to vote on whether construction of the controversial police training facility should proceed. Activists hope to submit the signatures by August 21 to increase the chance that the proposal appears on the November ballot. [The New Yorker/WABE] Context: Atlanta has pledged a staggering $67 million to build Cop City. Meanwhile, its Office of Violence Reduction has been left without a director for months and has failed to launch its first initiative.


Biden’s Executive Order on Guns, Explained: The president’s directive largely aims to enforce the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and encourage more background checks. (March 2023)