Members of Maine’s congressional delegation called for the Department of the Army Inspector General to investigate the events that preceded a reservist’s deadly gun rampage in Lewiston in October, the Associated Press reports. The action came after a meeting with a survivor and victims’ family members, who also called for an inquiry into how the shooter was able to own guns. While Army officials are planning their own administrative probe, delegation members  said in a statement that the “tragedy warrants a much broader, independent inquiry.” 

The Army has been tight-lipped about the shooter’s time in the ranks. But The New York Times reports that authorities have started to consider the possibility that his brain was damaged during service. The state medical examiner recently sent parts of the shooter’s brain to a lab that examines harms caused by repeated hits to the head, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, often abbreviated as CTE. Soldiers told the Times that he spent the vast majority of his time in the Army as a hand grenade instructor, repeatedly exposing him to “brain-jarring” blasts that could be linked to his psychological collapse.

Family members and fellow soldiers have said that the perpetrator’s mental state was clear: He had become delusional, paranoid, and potentially violent; spent two weeks in a psychiatric facility in New York state this past summer; and police had been warned about him for months. But his decline, and psychosis, reportedly didn’t appear until early this year. “If he’s my patient,” Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist and retired Army brigadier general, told the Times, “I’m asking what else might be going on that could cause it.”

What to Know Today

Racine, Wisconsin, is a factory town that’s perhaps best known for its extravagant prom celebrations. But in 2018, ATF investigators allege, the Great Lakes suburb became a source of military-grade weapons for a Mexican cartel — and just one part of a large network that exploited permissive state and federal gun laws to traffic powerful firearms to a gang across the border. [Reuters

Federal weapons convictions, mostly for firearms violations, continued to reach record highs in fiscal year 2023, according to data from Syracuse University. During the Biden administration, weapons convictions have increased by 17 percent compared to the Trump administration. [TRAC

The guns sold at Westforth Sports Inc., in Gary, Indiana, have been linked to hundreds of crimes in Chicago, and though the store has racked up dozens of violations from the ATF over the past few decades, the agency has long taken a lax approach to lawbreaking dealers. The story of Westforth illustrates how America’s more than 60,000 gun retailers have little financial incentive to forgo questionable transactions and face limited penalties for failing to prevent illegal ones. [ProPublica

The new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention was unveiled just a couple months ago, but it’s already had to respond to mass shootings in Maine and Chicago. Deputy Director Rob Wilcox, whose cousin was killed in a shooting, makes the case for how President Joe Biden’s new initiative can stem the bloodshed. [POLITICO

Oklahoma is home to the nation’s first and only “anti-red flag” law, which bans the state and local governments from enacting measures to seize weapons from people deemed a risk to themselves or others, or accepting any grants to support such legislation. Advocates for domestic violence victims say the state’s permissive gun regulations put victims at risk — including people like Tara Currin, whose protective order didn’t stop her ex-boyfriend from shooting her eight times last year. [The Frontier

New findings from researchers at Florida Atlantic University indicate that mental illness isn’t a major contributor to increasing trends in gun deaths. Their study compared gun-related deaths and reported mental illness between the U.S., Australia, and the U.K., as well as between U.S. states. [The American Journal of Medicine

In 2020, Diamonds Ford “stood her ground” when she woke up to what she thought was a break-in. But Ford wasn’t shooting at an intruder — deputies with the Sheriff’s Department in Jacksonville, Florida, had raided her home without knocking. Then she was charged with attempted murder. [The Marshall Project


When Protective Orders Don’t Protect: Rosemarie Reilly knew her ex might hurt her. But when she sought a restraining order, a judge allowed him to keep his guns. (January 2021)