The California Legislature sent a bill that would impose an 11 percent excise tax on guns and ammunition to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk; the tax dollars would help fund gun violence intervention, prevention, and education programs. It’s not yet clear if Newsom will sign the legislation into law: Though the governor is a vocal supporter of gun safety measures, he’s also discouraged lawmakers from pursuing new taxes in recent years. [CalMatters]
Shneaqua “Coco” Purvis thought she was used to the sound of shooting — it had been a regular feature of her childhood in 1980s and ’90s Brooklyn, New York, in a public housing complex where much of her neighborhood’s violence was concentrated. But the night her sister, Maisha, was struck by a stray bullet and killed in 2002, the gunfire sounded like nothing she’d ever heard before.
As Purvis looked to channel her grief in the years after Maisha’s death, she met other New Yorkers who’d lost loved ones to gun violence. She decided to become a violence interrupter in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood where she grew up, and where her sister was killed. As she began working to support both victims and perpetrators of gun violence, Purvis was confronted with a pivotal question: If her sister’s shooter “had somebody like me at the time, would he have done what he did?” Recent Trace alum Laura Esposito has the story.
The way we choose to remember the dead has long fascinated Rochele Royster, an art therapist and former Chicago Public Schools teacher. Royster founded Dolls4Peace, a project that celebrated the lives of people killed by gunfire in Chicago by giving community members supplies to create a doll representing their loved one and a space to discuss their life.
For Royster, memorials like Dolls4Peace aren’t just public displays of celebration and love, but also sites where past, present, future, power, politics, and identity all collide. The Trace’s Justin Agrelo spoke to her about the interplay of memory, grief, and death — and our collective human need to remember those we’ve lost.
What to Know Today
Americans are worried about crime, but few appear to have an accurate perception of the problem. Two possible explanations? Increasing partisanship and harmful media narratives could be skewing people’s perspectives. [Los Angeles Times/Billy Penn]
Though violent crime in Washington, D.C., isn’t nearly as high as it was in the 1990s, residents have been shaken by a sharp uptick this year and months of persistent, seemingly random shootings, including in areas where crime is less expected. For Ronald Moten, a violence prevention worker who was arrested on drug charges in the ’90s, the city today feels “worse in some ways, like a wicked spirit is out there.” [The Washington Post]
Victims’ rights laws, often called Marsy’s Law statutes, are increasingly used to shield the names of police officers after use-of-force incidents. One such statute in Ohio is protecting the identity of the officer who shot and killed 21-year-old Ta’Kiya Young, who was pregnant, last month — the latest example of how these laws keep police anonymous. [The Marshall Project]
For almost a decade, museums in Washington couldn’t receive donated firearms manufactured after 1858, due to a quirk in the state’s background check rules. That changed this year — and museums have an $8 rifle to thank for the revision. [KUOW]
Alina Narciso faced decades in prison after she shot and killed her abusive boyfriend in self-defense four years ago in Tijuana, Mexico. Her case illustrated how powerful biases against women can play out in a courtroom — and it reshaped how the criminal legal system in Baja California assesses gender-based violence. [Al Jazeera]
New York City’s Department of Correction made its third purchase of sniper rifles and accessories in less than a year, adding about $150,000 in ammunition, scopes, and tripods to its rarely used arsenal as it cuts $17 million in services for incarcerated people. Among the department’s purchases were hollow-point bullets, which are banned under The Hague Convention. [Gothamist] Context: Even after the first Hague Convention found the use of hollow points inhumane, police forces around the world readily adopted the bullets.
29 percent — the increase in homicides in Washington, D.C., in 2023 compared to the same period last year. [The Washington Post]