What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: In 2019, Congress pledged millions to study gun violence. The results are nearly here. For the first time in decades, Congress allocated $25 million annually to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health for the issue. The agencies distributed their first sets of grants to researchers in 2020, which include projects about school violence, safe storage, and various public health interventions. Chip Brownlee spoke with several researchers about some of the projects, the importance of federal support, and why the field is still underfunded compared to other leading causes of death. “The numbers [of shootings] have just been going up and up,” one researcher said, “so the [funding] number should be equivalent.” 

At least 13 mass shootings in several states over the weekend left 17 people dead. Another 69 people were injured in the incidents from Friday night through Sunday, according to the Gun Violence Archive, nearly equal to the total of a tragic Memorial Day weekend. Among the latest cases:

  • In Philadelphia, three people died and at least 11 people were injured after multiple shooters started firing into a crowd in one of the city’s most popular nightlife areas late Saturday night, witnesses and police said. The chaotic scene of gunfire reportedly began as a brawl between two young men which escalated to a gunfight, before other participants and at least one police officer also got involved. Police said they recovered five different guns. The victims ranged from 17 to 69, nearly all of them bystanders, according to police. Know someone who has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia? Check out our Up The Block resource hub.
  • In Chattanooga, Tennessee, three people were killed and at least 14 others were injured after gunfire broke out early Sunday morning at a nightclub, police and witnesses said. Police believe 14 victims were shot, two of them fatally, while the remaining three people sustained injuries from vehicles as they were fleeing the scene. Officials believe the conflict began as a personal dispute that caught bystanders in the crossfire. It was the second mass shooting in the city in as many weekends. 
  • In Summerton, South Carolina, one person was killed and seven were injured at a graduation party on Saturday night. “At least 60-70 rounds” were fired after two cars approached the party, the local sheriff’s office said. The victims ranged from 12 to 36, while a 32-year-old woman died from her injuries.
  • In Phoenix, one person was killed and eight others injured at a strip mall early Saturday morning. Police identified the dead as a 14-year-old girl. It was one of two mass shootings over the weekend in the Phoenix area.

“I’m tired of standing in front of you talking about guns and bodies,” Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly said during a Sunday news conference. “There are families whose lives have been shattered forever because once again, we have people deciding to resolve their issues with firearms.”

Senators involved in bipartisan gun talks express optimism over reaching a deal. Policies said to be under discussion include legislation incentivizing states to create their own red flag laws, more funding for mental health programs and school security, and strengthening background check laws. “I’ve never been part of conversations that are this serious and this thoughtful before, and I know all the Republicans and Democrats who are at the table are there with total sincerity to get an agreement,” Senator Chris Murphy, the lead Democratic negotiator, toldThe Washington Post on Sunday. “It feels to me like we are closer than we’ve been since I’ve been in the Senate,” added Republican Senator Patrick Toomey. If talks produce a breakthrough that can attract enough votes to pass, the Senate measures will still fall considerably short of what President Joe Biden is proposing and what the House is expected to pass soon. Could gun reforms being considered in Congress have made a difference in past mass shootings? The Upshot takes a deep-dive look at six policies, and estimates at least 35 shootings since 1999 in which four people or more were killed could have been affected.

Where a large share of New York’s red flag orders have been issued. The state’s extreme risk protection order law took effect in August 2019 and allows police, family members, or school officials to petition a court to seize guns from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. (The state is on the verge of expanding who can file for a red flag order to include many health care providers.) The New York Times looks at more than 100 red flag cases filed in Suffolk County that led to the removal of more than 160 guns, including from at least 22 people under 25 and 11 minors. Overall since 2019, New York has issued 620 “final” red flag orders, meaning gun removals that are good for up to a year; 117 of those have been issued in Suffolk County, one of highest rates in the state. From the Trace: Red flag laws are only as good as their enforcement, and there are frequently wide variations within the 19 states that have the laws. In 2019, we reported how San Diego County has aggressively used red flag orders under City Attorney Mara Elliott, who has become something of a national spokesperson for the laws.

Data Point

1.31 million — the number of guns sold in May, according to our analysis of FBI data. This seasonally adjusted figure includes about 780,000 handguns and 530,000 long guns (rifles and shotguns). That’s down 13 percent from the previous May but nearly identical to the previous two months. [The Trace]