What To Know Today

Survey of gun policy experts shows some common ground amid a polarized field. The RAND Corporation polled 173 gun policy researchers, advocates, and analysts across the ideological spectrum and asked them to estimate the likely effects of 19 gun policies, like universal background checks, on 10 different outcomes, like homicide rates. Unsurprisingly, respondents were sharply split on whether they wanted more permissive policies on gun use and ownership versus more restrictive ones. Experts were largely united in favoring policies to reduce gun homicides, suicides, and mass shootings, but disagreed widely about how to accomplish those goals. “Most differences appear not to be driven by different policy goals, but rather by different beliefs about what individual policies might accomplish,” Rosanna Smart, the study’s lead author, said in a press release. Common ground: Five of the policies in the survey drew relatlively widespread support even across ideological lines: prosecution of prohibited gun possessors, expanded mental health prohibitions on gun ownership, child access prevention laws, getting prohibited possessors to surrender their firearms, and gun prohibitions for people subject to domestic violence protective orders.

Police agencies with diversity similar to their communities see a lower rate of police killings. A team led by Georgia State University criminologist Shytierra Gaston looked at a dataset of 1,988 local police agencies, tracked police killings of Black, white, and Hispanic Americans from 2013 through 2018, and considered how racially congruent a force was with its community. They found that more diverse forces led to lower rates of police killings for all three groups, but were particularly pronounced for Black and Hispanic Americans. “Our results suggest that for at least some local police departments, increasing the racial/ethnic representation of officers might lower police killings of people of color,” the authors write. Related from The Trace: The findings echo what Marilyn Thompson, a Black police officer in Arkansas, told us last year, based on her own experience and field research.

Three people fatally shot, including an officer, in Georgia. The officer was responding to a domestic disturbance call in the greater-Atlanta area when he drew fire. Investigators believe the gunman, who died in the shootout, also killed two women at the scene and injured a 12-year-old boy and another responding officer. The incident makes for a third officer killed in the state in the past month, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. As The Trace has reported, domestic violence calls are often the most dangerous for responding officers. Meanwhile, research has found that domestic violence victims are far more likely to be killed if their abuser has access to a gun. 

FBI finds that Dayton, Ohio, shooter acted alone and was not aligned to any ideological group. The bureau concluded after a two-year investigation that the perpetrator of the August 2019 massacre at a crowded bar had an “enduring fascination with mass violence” and had failed to cope with personal factors that included “a decade-long struggle with multiple mental health stressors and the successive loss of significant stabilizing anchors.” The finding contradicts assertions made by a handful of right-wing commentators that the gunman was inspired by antifa ideology

Pennsylvania governor vetoes permitless carry. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf followed up on his promise to overrule the measure passed by the GOP-led Legislature that would have eliminated license requirements for concealed carry, similar to those passed by a slew of other Republican-led statehouses this year.

Data Point

$15.7 million — grant funding Pennsylvania is giving to 40 violence intervention and prevention programs. It is the first of two batches of investments related to the governor’s $24 million pledge for community-led public safety programs. [Office of Governor Wolf]