Good morning, Bulletin readers. According to new CDC data, gun violence deaths held steady near a record high in 2018, while the share of firearm suicides increased. Your Thursday briefing continues below.

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Gun deaths again neared 40,000 in 2018. A total of 39,740 people were killed by firearms in 2018, according to data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The sum is a slight downtick from the 2017 figure, which marked the largest number of gun deaths ever tallied by the CDC, and the highest firearm mortality rate since 1996. Daniel Nass digs into the data.

Introducing “Ricochet,” our new series examining American lives touched by guns. In the first installment, Ann Givens profiles Helena Reid, a suicide hotline worker who discusses a fraught but fulfilling job that becomes all the more difficult when the person on the other end of the line has access to a firearm. “There’s just so much less forethought to pulling a trigger.”

Family of slain Chicago police officer sues Armslist, citing Trace reporting. Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was killed in 2018 with a gun bought on Armslist. Now his family is suing the online marketplace in federal court in Wisconsin, alleging that the website’s leaders designed the site to “actively encourage, assist and profit from the illegal sale and purchase of firearms.” The lawsuit cites our partnership with The Verge, which examined unlicensed gun selling on Armslist. Miles Kohrman has the follow-up.


States with handgun licensing laws have fewer mass shootings. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed mass shootings (defined here as four or more people killed) over a three decade span and found that the nine states requiring permits to purchase guns had 56 percent fewer fatal mass shootings. The analysis also found that laws banning large-capacity magazines were associated with a reduction in the number of people killed per incident. The study appears in the February issue of Criminology & Public Policy

A gunmaker sued for allegedly abetting the illegal flow of firearms is filing for bankruptcy. Jimenez Arms filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday, one month after the city of Kansas City, Missouri, filed suit against the company for failing to stop firearm traffickers. The company is also being sued by the parents of a man killed with one of its guns. The bankruptcy filing lists $1 million in liabilities and less than $50,000 in assets.

California journalists are getting threats after looking into gun ownership records. Last month, reporters at The San Francisco Chronicle requested public records on concealed weapons permits in rural Sutter County, California. In response, the local sheriff notified area gun owners about the inquiry, and some of the gun owners threatened the journalists, the paper says. Similar backlashes have made gun ownership and permit records inaccessible to the public in many states, as The Washington Post details.

Teen gun reform activists occupied Mitch McConnell’s Capitol Hill office. About two dozen students assembled for a two-hour protest against the Senate Majority Leader’s inaction on a universal background check bill that’s been stalled for nearly a year.


According to the CDC’s new gun death figures, Mississippi, Alabama, and Wyoming had the highest rates of gun mortality in 2018. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Hawaii had the lowest. CDC WONDER