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NEW from THE TRACE: How one bureaucrat’s charm offensive reformed Louisiana’s background check system. The assignment was daunting: Norm Gobert had to convince the state’s 64 parish clerks to begin sending criminal conviction records to the State Police and the FBI. Somehow, without any real governmental authority, he had to get them to say “yes” to more work. In a new partnership with The Bitter Southerner, Ann Givens documents how Gobert succeeded in that effort through a mix of persistence and charm — thus helping to improve Louisiana’s system and make it a pioneer in flagging people banned from owning firearms. Read the story here.

Young people may actually be less supportive of gun reforms than older Americans. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined survey data a year before and after the 2018 Parkland school shooting from two age groups: 18–29 and 30+. Younger adults registered relatively less support for 16 of 20 gun violence prevention policies, including universal background checks, license requirements, and assault weapon bans. The study’s lead author, Elizabeth Stone, told us she was surprised by the findings, given the growth of a youth-led gun reform movement after Parkland. But she offered a few possible caveats: The survey didn’t include the perspective of many high school students under 18, and among those surveyed there “could be a general lack of awareness about which policies are evidence-based or concerns with how these restrictions would be enforced.” She added that more research was needed about what drove the lower levels of youth support.

Vast majority of Virginians support the state’s new gun laws. A poll by the Center of Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School found overwhelming approval for several policies signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam earlier this month. Pollsters found that 84 percent of respondents approve of a law expanding background checks to private gun sales, and 77 percent approve of a red flag law. Sixty-four percent approve of the reinstatement of a one-handgun-per-month purchasing limit.

Chart of the day. Yesterday, the RAND Corporation released an analysis of the efficacy of 18 gun laws (which we covered here and here). Below, a graphic representation of the 10 polices that were backed by the strongest evidence:

A campaign surrogate said Joe Biden would have closed gun stores during the pandemic. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie died in the Parkland shooting, said at a virtual town hall earlier this week that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee would not have deemed gun shops “essential.” Last month, the Trump administration issued a nonbinding declaration of the gun industry as among those providing “essential critical infrastructure.”


78 — the number of shootings linked to domestic incidents in Chicago during March and the first two weeks of April. While overall reports of domestic violence were down, the number of shootings actually increased slightly. The Marshall Project