After years of chaos, the political crisis in Haiti came to a head this week. Prime Minister Ariel Henry — an unpopular, unelected leader installed after the still-unsolved assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 — announced that he was resigning; armed gangs, who united to oust Henry after he said he intended to delay elections, now control much of the capital; and violence is widespread. As PBS NewsHour reported, that violence has been bolstered by American firearms.

In 2023, a United Nations report on gun and drug trafficking to Haiti noted that the “principal source of firearms and munitions in Haiti is in the U.S.” While gun trafficking, by nature, is difficult to pin exact numbers to, Caribbean officials told Bloomberg in January that Haiti had become a center of firearm smuggling operations in the region; Moïse’s assassination effectively limited its ability to police gun trafficking. Caribbean leaders, Bloomberg reported, feared that without help from the U.S., the bloodshed could heighten as it has in Mexico, where American guns fuel cartel violence.

There’s a chance, however, that Mexico could lead the way in curbing trafficking. A January U.N. report found that, among the manufacturers producing the most illegal firearms recovered in Haiti, three were defendants in Mexico’s landmark lawsuit against American gunmakers. That suit, which was revived in January, accuses the gunmakers of aiding and abetting the trafficking of weapons across the border. Jonathan Lowy, whose group Global Action on Gun Violence is representing Mexico, told The Trace in January that curbing trafficking would benefit the U.S., too. 

“We’re seeking to have the manufacturers sell and distribute guns in responsible ways that hinder gun trafficking,” said Lowy. “If that were to happen, the U.S. would be an even greater beneficiary than Mexico, because while Mexico is subject to this flood of crime guns as a result of trafficking and reckless gun industry practices, the U.S. is even more subject to those harms.”

What to Know Today

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In 2020, at West Virginia’s request, the CDC gave the state $525,000 over three years to collect data on gun injuries and use the information to create gun violence prevention strategies. Almost all of the money went unspent — and with the grant period over, most of it is being returned to the Treasury. [Mountain State Spotlight]  

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The chief of police of Uvalde, Texas, announced his resignation this week, following a city-sanctioned review of the 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School that cleared all local officers of wrongdoing and infuriated family members of those killed. The police chief was on vacation when the attack occurred, but led a department with officers who were inadequately trained to respond to mass shootings. [The Texas Tribune

Police in Charleston, South Carolina, are investigating the death of a former Boeing employee who raised concerns about safety and quality control in the company’s aircraft production. John Barnett died of a gunshot wound to the head, police said, one day before he was due to wrap up depositions in a whistleblower case against Boeing. [NPR/The Washington Post]


The Ubiquity of Guns Colors Nearly Every Police Interaction. Could Gun Regulations Prevent Police Shootings?: Research has shown the connections between the proliferation of firearms, officer safety, and police use of fatal force. But a new study looks at the flip side: whether certain gun laws could reduce the number of police shootings. (November 2023)