In 1996, Congress approved a measure that would stymie our understanding of gun violence for decades: The Dickey Amendment barred the use of federal dollars to “advocate or promote gun control,” and while the language didn’t explicitly ban research, it was representative of political hostility that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention didn’t want to test. The freeze limited not only overall scholarship, but also created limitations on who could study gun violence.

Five years ago, however, Congress changed course, allocating millions specifically to study gun violence and clarifying that the Dickey Amendment didn’t prohibit funding gun violence research. The shift in resources, reports The Trace’s Fairriona Magee, has led to more diversity in both the demographics of the research and the topics of study themselves. After decades of struggling to advance their work, researchers of color are beginning to close a long-noted diversity gap in the field — and their work is strengthening our knowledge of effective interventions, prevention, and community involvement in solutions.

In her latest story, Magee profiles members of the Black and Brown Collective, a network that supports Black and Latino gun violence scholars, and breaks down how studies conducted by gun violence survivors and researchers from marginalized communities are changing the field.

From Our Team

A roundup of stories from The Trace.

An Emerging Group of Researchers Is Changing Our Understanding of Gun Violence

The Black and Brown Collective was formed to address inequities in the gun violence research community. Its diversity is reflected in its work — and is strengthening the field itself.

Seven States Move to Tax Guns and Ammo

Maryland is among the states looking to follow California in taxing the gun industry to support hospitals, violence intervention programs, and services for victims of gun violence.
Read more →

In Philadelphia, a Program Offers Some People Arrested for Unlicensed Guns a Second Chance

It aims to work around a state law that treats Philadelphians more harshly than other Pennsylvanians.

How Gun Laws Reduce Domestic Firearm Violence

A federal statute meant to protect domestic violence victims is being questioned in the Supreme Court. The challenge could bring new attention to how state laws can fill in the gaps.

U.S. Agents Are Seizing More Guns Headed to Mexico

Illegally trafficked firearms have bolstered drug cartels that U.S. authorities blame for a surge in American overdose deaths.

A Reagan-Era Ban on Undetectable Firearms Is About to Expire. Will Congress Save It?

A small bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing to renew a prohibition on guns that could slip through metal detectors.
Read more →

What to Know This Week

A respected laboratory at Boston University found that the Army Reserve member who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history in October had significant brain damage of the kind seen in military veterans who were repeatedly exposed to blasts during their service. The shooter, who never saw combat, was a grenade instructor for many years. [The New York Times

The National Rifle Association is still the most prominent gun rights group in the country, but its power has waned in the last few years, thanks to plummeting revenue and membership and reputational fallout from its civil corruption trial in New York. As the organization cuts back on federal lobbying, another group is beginning to take its place: The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the gun industry’s largest trade group, spent more than $5.4 million on federal lobbying last year, more than twice as much as the NRA. [New York/NBC

Ten Philadelphia students were wounded and one was killed in separate shootings at bus stops near their schools this week, the latest in a spate of gun violence in the city’s public transit system. In nearby New York City, Governor Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are opting to deploy thousands of troops from the National Guard, along with more State Police and city police to counter crime on subway stations and trains; leaders in Philly and Pennsylvania have not indicated that they are considering such drastic action. [Chalkbeat Philadelphia/The New York Times/The Philadelphia Inquirer

A jury convicted movie armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust” in 2021, concluding that Gutierrez-Reed brought live ammunition to the set whether she knew it or not. Actor Alec Baldwin, who was pointing a gun at Hutchins when it fired, is scheduled to face trial in July. [Associated Press

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a massive budget bill to avert a government shutdown before a Friday night deadline. The package includes a controversial measure, championed by the GOP, that would bar the Department of Veterans Affairs from flagging the names of beneficiaries it judges as “mentally incompetent” to the FBI’s background check system. [Associated Press/HuffPost

Americans bought an estimated 1.33 million guns last month, according to an analysis of FBI data. That seasonally adjusted figure includes about 800,000 handguns and 530,000 long guns. [The Trace]

In Memoriam

Cranston Pia, 39, spent a lot of time thinking about food: He owned the Grazing 7s ranch in Mahaka, a town on the west side of Oahu, Hawaii, where he tended to cattle and chickens and “cherish[ed] every living being under his stewardship,” a friend wrote on a GoFundMe page. Pia, better known as “Duke,” was shot and killed last month, allegedly during a dispute over a calf he was raising. He was a family man: Pia had been excited about his daughter’s upcoming graduation, and he’d been planning to surprise his wife with an anniversary dinner the night he died. Loved ones and colleagues remembered him as a stalwart supporter of their community, and someone who was “truly passionate … about agriculture and the ecosystem.” He was “a man of deep faith,” the friend remembered, “kind-hearted, generous, and filled with joy.”

We Recommend

Can Mexico Win Its Battle With U.S. Gun Companies?: “It’s a case which is also resonating with other Latin American countries who have been impacted by illegal gun trafficking from the United States. … They will be watching closely to see if Mexico’s lawsuit, the first by a sovereign state, can set a precedent.” [BBC]

Pull Quote

“For the first time in my life, I understand that this is not happening to the bad kids in the street — it is happening to everybody.”

— Brandon Lopez, a member of his Philadelphia high school’s chess team and a taekwondo coach for younger children, who suffered multiple bullet wounds in a mass shooting at a bus stop near his school this week, on the city’s gun violence, to The Philadelphia Inquirer