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Gun sales apparently dropped in 2023, according to background check data from the FBI, marking the third straight year of decline following a major uptick in 2020. According to The Trace’s firearm sales tracker, Americans purchased nearly 665,000 fewer guns last year than in 2022. [Jeff Asher]

Community Violence

For nearly two decades, K.G. Wilson has been the man his North Minneapolis community turns to when a child is shot. He’s there in the immediate aftermath — he recalls carrying blood-stained furniture from the home of a grandmother whose 5-year-old grandson was shot and killed on her couch — and he’s there long after everyone else has moved on, tending to memorials and providing grief support, refusing to let young victims be forgotten.

Wilson is one of the Northside’s “OG community elders,” said Jennifer White, a former City Hall policy advisor and manager of the city’s first Office of Violence Prevention. For years, Wilson, a former gang member, has acted as a one-man violence prevention operation, engaging community members and coordinating with local networks to provide vital resources to people.

Despite his proximity to the everyday violence in Minneapolis, Wilson had never lost a family member to a shooting. Then, one night in that violent spring of 2021, he got a call that changed everything. The Trace’s Selin Thomas has the story, published in partnership with Sahan Journal.

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

Jamie Yazzie, a 31-year-old Diné woman, went missing in July 2019. Her body was found two years later, near the border of the Navajo Nation, with a gunshot wound in her head. For Darlene Gomez, an attorney for her family, the conviction of Yazzie’s killer was a rare victory in the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. [The New Yorker]

What happens if the Supreme Court rules that former President Donald Trump isn’t eligible to run for office? Political analysts, legal scholars, and security experts say the fallout would be extraordinary, and could result in armed protest and mass violence. [Politico

The man accused of killing eight people in Joliet, Illinois, had been charged with several violent crimes before last month’s mass shooting, police records show. Some of those charges were in relation to an apparent road rage shooting last year, a case that was still pending at the time of the killings in January. [Chicago Sun-Times

The ATF asked a federal judge to rule against California in a lawsuit seeking to compel the agency to issue more stringent ghost gun regulations. Plaintiffs, which include the state and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, say the ATF’s 2022 rule requiring serial numbers and background checks for “buy-build-shoot” kits was not sufficient to curb the proliferation of the homemade, untraceable firearms. [Courthouse News

Gun violence is frequently cast as a public health crisis — and while that framework “makes profound tactile sense,” argues firearms policy scholar Jonathan Metzl, “guns represent more than health problems.” Rather, he writes, gun politics threaten the civic culture and social trust that “healthy democracies require.” [TIME]


How the Mass Market Was Won: To build a civilian firearms market, U.S. gun manufacturers pioneered myths about the American West that live on to this day. (October 2023)