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There’s evidence that structural racism may contribute to mass shootings, according to researchers from Tulane University. Their recent study found that major U.S. cities with higher populations of Black people are more likely to be affected by mass shootings — suggesting a relationship with segregation and discriminatory housing practices — and that racial and ethnic minority populations are much more likely to be victims of mass shootings. [CNN/JAMA Surgery]


Philadelphia’s shootings and homicides have dropped slightly this year compared to the same period last year: As of July 20, homicides were down by 23 percent, and nonfatal shootings were down 22 percent, per Police Department data. Though the trend is promising, city officials, criminologists, and community leaders say that gun violence is still claiming too many lives.

Indeed, The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean reports, in some parts of Philadelphia, the decrease in shootings is a distinction without much of a difference. “There’s still hundreds of people who die from gun violence, and these people tend to be concentrated in small places,” said Jason Gravel, of Temple University. “We can’t sit back and say ‘mission accomplished.’”

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Ask The Trace

For years, The Trace has reported on a special legal immunity granted to the gun industry that protects companies from challenges in court. That immunity originates from the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, or PLCAA, which provided quite possibly the most sweeping liability protections to date. In recent years, however, more and more people have managed to pierce the shield — including at least 70 who have filed lawsuits against SIG Sauer, alleging the company sells a defective product.

Readers asked us how those suits were able to proceed. For the latest Ask The Trace, Champe Barton clarifies when, and how, the firearm industry’s legal immunity kicks in.

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What to Know Today

Asian Americans experience a lower gun violence rate than other ethnic groups, but the numbers have been rising. As efforts to pass stricter firearm laws falter in Congress and many states, some Asian Americans are turning their focus to mental health care as a violence prevention method. [AAJA Voices

Karina Gonzales was granted an order of protection against her husband before he shot and killed her this month in Chicago. Her death highlights the difficulty of seizing guns from a spouse accused of domestic violence — a danger that a bill in the Illinois General Assembly could help to fix. [Chicago Sun-Times]

The San Antonio Police Department has a mental health crisis unit, staffed by officers trained in crisis intervention, available to answer calls 24/7. Why doesn’t that unit respond to the vast majority of mental health calls? [The New York Times]

Two decades after New York City Council Member James Davis was shot and killed inside City Hall, his legacy as a violence-reduction activist and “kick-in-the door” Brooklyn politician lives on. [Intelligencer

A legal gun owner who shot three police officers, killing one, in Fargo, North Dakota, was possibly planning “some pretty horrific acts,” potentially including a mass shooting, police said. According to the state attorney general, the shooter had 1,800 rounds, multiple guns, and a hand grenade in his vehicle, in addition to the rifle he used against the officers. [Star Tribune

Philadelphia is suspending evictions conducted by landlord-tenant officers after the third eviction-related shooting incident since March. [The Philadelphia Inquirer
Our friends at WBEZ are currently accepting submissions for Prisoncast!, a journalism project made for and by people incarcerated in Illinois prisons, and their loved ones. [WBEZ]


Domestic Abusers Often Graduate to Other Violent Crimes. They Also Often Get to Have Guns: The suspect in the 2015 Planned Parenthood shooting had a history of violence against women, a common denominator in numerous high-profile shootings. (December 2015)