What To Know Today

Recent rise in gun homicides concentrated in South-Central and Midwest states. That’s according to a new RAND study looking at gun-related homicides from 2006 through 2019. After a decades-long decline, homicides began rising again in 2014, a trend entirely driven by rising gun homicides which began diverging from the non-gun homicide trend in the 2000s and became especially pronounced after 2014. In addition to affecting South-Central and Midwest states, the gun homicides trend after 2014 disproportionately affected Black people, Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives. While the trends varied widely, the areas and groups that were historically most affected by gun violence saw the highest recent increases. “Unfortunately, this ongoing spike in firearm killings has reversed a trend that saw disparities waning over the previous two decades,” said Rosanna Smart, the study’s lead author. The gun violence surge during the pandemic has only further compounded these disparities.

More eye-opening statistics from the study:

  • Gun homicide rates went up 6 percent annually from 2014 to 2019, after decreasing 1 percent per year from 2006 to 2014.
  • States in the Midwest and South-Central regions saw gun homicides increase as much as 75 percent to 115 percent from 2014 to 2019.
  • States with the largest relative increases in gun homicides: Missouri, Alaska, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Alabama.
  • States with the lowest relative increases: Connecticut, New York, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

“These increases are specific to firearm homicide and are not mirrored in trends in other types of homicides,” Smart said.

House bipartisan gun suicide prevention bill would allow people to put themselves on a “do not sell” list. Democrat Pramila Jayapal from Washington and Republican John Curtis of Utah introduced the legislation that allows people to voluntarily and temporarily suspend their own ability to purchase guns. It would require the U.S. Attorney General to establish a secure Voluntary Purchase Delay Database to which people could add their names that would alert licensed dealers if they tried to buy a gun. People could remove themselves from the list at any time. The bill follows similar state-enacted laws in Utah, Virginia, and Washington that were spearheaded by Frederick Vars, a University of Alabama professor. Why it matters: In 2020, roughly half of the almost 48,000 Americans who died by suicide used a gun, while about 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal. See our guide on where to find help if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression.

Armed man arrested outside Jayapal’s home after alleged threats is released from jail. Police detained a man outside the congresswoman’s home on Saturday but he was released Wednesday after police said they couldn’t confirm allegations that he had threatened to kill her or yelled at her to “go back to India,” where Jayapal was born. Court records did show that Seattle police obtained a red flag order against the man that will force him to surrender his guns and concealed carry license. Jayapal called 911 after he stood outside her home shouting obscene language, and police detained him and found him carrying a handgun. The investigation is ongoing and prosecutors could still file charges.

Buffalo gunman indicted on federal hate crime and gun charges. The white 19-year-old charged with killing 10 Black people and injuring three others at a supermarket in May was indicted by a federal grand jury on 27 counts — 13 for using a firearm in the commission of a crime and 14 related to hate crimes resulting in death, injury, or attempted murder. “The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

Data Point

Three out of four — the share of national homicides involving a gun in 2019, according to the above RAND study, the highest proportion the researchers found on record. “The ratio has grown even larger since the end of the study period,” the authors wrote. [The New England Journal of Medicine]