What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Boulder, like many U.S. cities, passed its own firearms laws. Gun groups got them thrown out. On March 12, a Colorado judge struck down Boulder’s municipal ban on assault-style rifles. Four days later, a 21-year-old suburban Denver man bought a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic pistol, and on Monday, he allegedly shot 10 people at a supermarket. It’s not clear if the old ban would have covered the weapon the shooter used. But the tragedy points to a broader battle between local governments, which want to restrict how firearms are used in their communities, and gun rights groups, which have successfully gone to court to challenge them via “preemption” laws in 40 states that say local law can’t trump state or federal rules. You can read our story about that struggle here, in partnership with USA TODAY.

More from Boulder. What we know a day later:

  • The 10 victims were identified. They are: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Eric Talley, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65. 
  • The city of Boulder advertised free mental or emotional support. The services are open to anyone dealing with grief and trauma as a result of the shooting. 
  • The suspected shooter was charged with 10 counts of murder. Police are still investigating, but The Denver Post reported on his past criminal conviction for misdemeanor assault and what former high school classmates called a violent temper.
  • Speaking about the shooting from the White House, President Joe Biden said: “Our hearts go out to the survivors who had to flee for their lives and who hid, terrified, unsure if they’d ever see their families again, their friends again.” He called for Congress to act on gun reform, including banning assault weapons, and for the Senate to pass House-advanced background check bills. As of now, those measures don’t have the 60 votes necessary under supermajority rules.

A doctor’s plea to recognize gun violence as a public health issue. “Gun deaths are no different from #COVID19: when we politicize human suffering, we all lose,” writes Megan Ranney, an ER doctor at Brown Emergency Medicine and co-founder of AFFIRM Research, in a must-read Twitter thread. She describes a public health model as centering gun violence on the human experience and individual and social costs; using data and science to create change; clarifying gun violence facts, like that mass shootings are only a small part of the the total problem; following the evidence on policy and gun violence rates; changing the conversation from outrage to solutions; and getting more federal funding for gun violence research on par with other kinds of health research.

An analysis from 2017 about how gun violence research is funded compared to other health concerns. Since then, the field has received $50 million in federal dollars, but it is still far behind.

“We have never seen an opportunity like this”: stimulus and community violence prevention. In a call, advocates from the National Coalition for Shared Safety discussed the immense resources available for violence prevention, mental health, reentry services, trauma recovery, and community development as a result of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. John Maki, of the Alliance for Safety and Justice, heralded the bill as a way to “fund programs that will transform our country’s response to violence and diminish its harmful over-reliance on the criminal justice system.”

Data Point

Half — the share of shooting victims who don’t receive news coverage, according to a recent study. The paper looked at the disparity between city statistics of shootings and media reports of gun violence incidents in three cities — Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Rochester, New York — in 2017. [Preventive Medicine]