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Homicides are dropping in many major U.S. cities, but in the nation’s capital, they’re surging toward numbers not seen in decades. D.C. employs the same crime-fighting strategies — like seizing illegal firearms and focusing efforts on areas with concentrated violence — as many of the cities where killings are decreasing. Why is the District an outlier? [The Washington Post]

Ask The Trace

For most of America’s history, cities and towns had the authority to enact their own gun regulations. That’s less true today: At present, 43 states prevent local governments from enacting gun reforms through what’s known as a “preemption” law, meaning that municipalities are prohibited from enforcing ordinances that conflict with state regulations. 

As we’ve reported stories about preemption at The Trace, readers have asked for more information on the laws’ scope and limitations. In an update to a 2018 explainer, reporter Chip Brownlee explores the background on the NRA-backed effort to block local gun reform, and the latest developments in the movement to beat it back.

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

The ATF is embroiled in two federal court battles over forced reset triggers, devices that convert semiautomatic guns to near fully automatic fire. In Texas, a gun rights group is suing the agency over its classification of the devices as machine guns; in New York, gun company Rare Breed Triggers is defending itself against fraud allegations for continuing to sell the devices after the ATF declared them illegal in 2020. [Associated Press]

The owner of a clothing store in Lake Arrowhead, California, was shot and killed by a man who reportedly took issue with a Pride flag on display at the business. According to a local LGBTQ+ resource group, Laura Ann Carleton, a mother of nine, did not identify as a member of the queer community, but was an advocate “for everyone in the community.” [NBC

Oklahoma City Police saw “an unprecedented increase” in the number of guns stolen from cars in 2022, according to the department’s annual report. Between last June — when police began tracking the metric, in response to a noticeable increase in firearm thefts from vehicles — and December, 364 guns were stolen from cars; 344 such thefts have been recorded so far in 2023. [Oklahoma City Free Press

Mark Meadows, a White House chief of staff during the Trump administration who was indicted over efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, is pursuing a legal maneuver to get his case moved to federal court, where it could potentially be dismissed. The outcome hinges on how the courts interpret the 19th-century case of Stephen J. Field, a gun-toting Supreme Court justice who appears to be the only member of the high court ever arrested for murder. [Washington Monthly

Gun violence is prevalent in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood, where LaToya Winton provides one-on-one counseling to young public school students. Though gun violence prevention isn’t in her job title, Winton’s developed strategies to help young people cope with shootings and equip them to avoid community violence. [Chalkbeat Chicago

Two Republicans in Congress proposed a resolution calling on the media to change its reporting practices around mass shootings. Experts on mass violence and the First Amendment alike expressed concerns, noting that professional news organizations already adhere to many of the lawmakers’ recommendations and that the resolution is based on research that did not include “any evaluation or data collection.” [The Tennessean] Context: The lawmakers cite a “media contagion effect” as a major factor in the recent rise in mass shootings. But there’s no consensus among researchers that the contagion effect exists.


Law Enforcement’s Lost and Stolen Gun Problem: Police departments’ uneven storage rules have put deadly weapons into the hands of criminals. (November 2018)