A number of gun safety laws across the U.S. went into effect on Monday. Among them: a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in Illinois; Minnesota’s extreme risk protection order law; Colorado’s ghost gun ban; reforms in Washington state that impose a 10-day waiting period for firearm purchases and require gun buyers to take safety training; and a contentious California law prohibiting gun carrying in many public places, which eked its way into effect amid a legal challenge in federal court.

Meanwhile, ahead of the year’s legislative sessions, state lawmakers are already discussing the gun measures they want to put on the agenda. [The Guardian/KQED/The New York Times]

National Rifle Association

In 2020, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused top NRA officials of using the nonprofit as a “personal piggy bank.” Three and a half years later, a Manhattan jury is slated to hear James’s case against the gun group, in a trial that could dethrone longtime leader Wayne LaPierre.

The attorney general alleges that the defendants — LaPierre, two former top officials, the group’s current general counsel, and the NRA itself — failed to handle charitable assets responsibly, and improperly spent NRA money on luxury trips, cushy insider contracts, private jet travel, and fancy suits. 

Should the jury side with James and remove LaPierre, it would signal the end of an era for the NRA — and kick off a new epoch that could upend or reinvigorate the group. The Trace’s Will Van Sant has the story.

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By the Numbers

The conclusion of 2023 brought some welcome news: The U.S. may have moved past the surge of gun violence sparked by the pandemic. Preliminary data indicates that both gun deaths and gun injuries dropped last year, and homicides may have declined by a record amount. 

Still, as statistics about last year’s gun violence come into view, it’s clear that the problem is far from over. Mass shootings remain stubbornly high, and gun deaths are well above pre-COVID levels. In The Trace’s final story of 2023, Chip Brownlee breaks down the figures illuminating both the progress and the challenges that lie ahead.

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What to Know Today

The months following the Sandy Hook massacre seemed to be the moment that major gun laws stood the best chance of passing — but Congress did little. Today, some current and former senators who blocked reforms in 2013 say they regret their stances. [The Washington Post

Denver Police arrested a man who reportedly broke into the Colorado Supreme Court building by shooting out a window and, once inside, fired multiple shots and held a security guard at gunpoint. No one was injured during the break-in. [Colorado Public Radio/USA TODAY

There are no agreed-upon national standards for “after-action” reports analyzing police responses to mass shootings, meaning that the level of detail included in these reviews is highly variable. An analysis of reports released to the public shows that some of them excluded key details about officers’ actions or failed to fully explore other missteps. [ProPublica, The Texas Tribune, and FRONTLINE

Cherelle Parker was sworn in as Philadelphia’s 100th mayor. She campaigned on fighting crime with robust policing, including ramping up the use of stop-and-frisk — a move her critics and supporters began debating long before she was inaugurated. [The Philadelphia Inquirer

Chicago Public Schools officials told principals to prepare for the possible removal of campus police officers, a move that would align with Mayor Brandon Johnson’s vision for school safety. Detractors say that local councils should retain the power to decide whether to keep police in schools. [Chicago Sun-Times

Gaston Glock, the reclusive Austrian billionaire who invented the handgun that bears his name, died at the age of 94. His weapon first entered the American market in the 1980s, and was quickly adopted by two-thirds of the country’s police forces. [The New York Times]


The Right’s Favorite Gun Researcher: Since the 1990s, John Lott has provided the empirical justification for looser firearms laws. Do his claims stand up to scrutiny? (November 2022)