What To Know Today

Gun violence has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of child mortality. For more than 60 years, car crashes were the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 24. But since 2017, the top cause has been firearm injuries, according to an analysis of CDC data by Boston-based researchers. “The crossing of these trend lines demonstrates how a concerted approach to injury prevention can reduce injuries and deaths — and, conversely, how a public health problem can be exacerbated in the absence of such attention,” the authors write. “As the progress made in reducing deaths from motor vehicle crashes shows, we don’t have to accept the high rate of firearm-related deaths among U.S. children and adolescents.” Related from The Trace: In January, we reported on CDC data that found gun violence deaths eclipsed 45,000 for the first time in 2020, and that firearm injury was the 13th leading cause of death for all Americans — ahead of fatal car crashes for the fourth straight year.

Philly’s women and kids bore a higher share of the city’s pandemic violence. And the rate of mass shooting injuries rose. A new study led by Temple University public health researchers crunched the numbers on police data for shooting victims from January 2015 to April 2021. The study found that after the first pandemic lockdown measures in March 2020, the proportion of women shot increased by 39 percent (to 11.4 percent of all shootings), while the share of children shot increased by 17 percent (to 9 percent). Black women and children were disproportionately more likely to be shot post-containment compared to other groups. The post-March 2020 proportion of mass shootings also increased by 53 percent. “Only by examining the root causes of interpersonal firearm violence and gaining a better understanding of these changes that have occurred, can we address the epidemic of gun violence in the city,” corresponding author Jessica H. Beard said in a press release.

The leader of one gun rights group is questioning the wisdom of permitless carry. In late 2020, we reported on the meteoric rise of the National African American Gun Association, a pro-gun group founded in 2015 as a refuge from the discrimination and fear that often come with being Black and armed in America. Its leader, Philip Smith, told WSB-TV in Atlanta this week that he’s worried about Georgia’s new law eliminating licensing requirements for people carrying concealed handguns — and its potential effect on Black people. “My fear is that you’ll have a lot more people buying guns that aren’t trained in the details of the gun,” he said. Twenty-five states now have permitless carry laws on the books.

Listen: The Trace’s Champe Barton joined WGNRadio to discuss his latest story about the ATF’s hands-off approach to law-breaking gun dealers who fueled Chicago gun crime.

Data Point

14 percent — the decline in violent crime incidents in three cities where officers received training in procedural justice principles, according to a recent study. There were also 60 percent fewer arrests. It was one of the first major studies to evaluate the reformist approach to policing that prioritizes fair and respectful treatment of citizens. “Our study suggests we can focus on police reform and be successful at it and that won’t harm the crime control effectiveness of police and, indeed, enhances it,” said the lead author. [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]