From Our Team

The Most Memorable Gun Violence Journalism of 2022. For years, The Trace has paid constant attention to the gun violence crisis — spotlighting mass shootings that fall under the radar, promising solutions, attempts at reform, and keeping readers updated on rolling statistics. We’re never alone in pursuing this work, but this year, with the unfortunate number of mass shootings that garnered national attention, it felt as though other news outlets woke up to the ubiquity of gun violence in our daily lives. Here’s our list of the best coverage of the year.

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What to Know Today

Number of young people treated for gunshot-related injuries soars. In the heat of the pandemic, between April 2020 and December 2021, more than 2,700 children and teens under the age of 18 were treated at hospitals for firearm injuries, according to a new analysis of data from 49 children’s hospitals. That figure is more than 50 percent above the figure for the corresponding period in 2018 and 2019 and, Black children bore the brunt of the violence. “This unequal burden of injury mirrors the disproportionate implications of COVID-19 for minoritized communities,” write the authors.

Exonerated after 25 years on Pennsylvania’s death row, “champion for justice” is fatally shot at Philadelphia funeral. Christopher Williams was the first person in the history of the state’s judicial system to be charged with six murders, acquitted of two, and exonerated of four. He served nearly three decades in prison before he was released in February 2021, when he was able to spend time with family, work as a skilled carpenter, and begin to give back to the community. Last Friday, the father of six was shot once in the head after emerging from his car at Mount Peace Cemetery, part of a funeral procession for a friend who was also formerly incarcerated. Williams’s killing has alarmed other exonerated men, who have long expressed fear for their safety after decades in prison.

Iowa police chief kept and sold department machine guns. Last week, a federal grand jury charged Adair Police Chief Bradley Wendt with conspiracy to make false statements and defraud the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The indictment alleges that, between 2018 and 2022, Wendt requested around 90 firearms, including rifles, submachine guns, and a .50-caliber belt-fed machine gun, and declared to the ATF that the entire arsenal was intended for police use or weapons demonstrations so the department could evaluate them for future purchase. Wendt is accused of using the weapons, some of which prosecutors say he obtained through a gun store that he also owns, for his own personal and financial gain. 

The city of Buffalo, rocked by a racist mass shooting, sues gun companies. On Tuesday, New York’s second-largest city took on multiple gun manufacturers, including Smith & Wesson, Glock, Remington, Sig Sauer, and Beretta, seeking to hold the companies accountable for gun violence constituting a “public nuisance.” The city also sued a host of manufacturers of ghost gun parts. In a news conference, Mayor Byron W. Brown said the lawsuit seeks to decrease gun violence that “destroys lives and deeply affects our neighborhoods, especially in Black and Brown communities.”

Military instructors who lead public high school marksmanship teams promised to promote the NRA for money. At a time when many school districts are going to great lengths to keep guns out of schools, J.R.O.T.C. programs are one of the few that teach weapons training. Tax records examined by The New York Times show that the NRA has given more than $5 million in money and equipment to competitive shooting programs at public schools. In exchange for funding, J.R.O.T.C instructors have repeatedly offered to promote the organization at competitions and in newsletters, post NRA banners at their schools, or add the NRA logo to apparel worn by students.

Data Point

Two-thirds — Data on fatal police shootings nationally that is missing from the FBI’s data archive, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.