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Federal and state attorneys arguing gun restriction cases have been citing racist laws from the 18th and 19th centuries as evidence of precedence for firearm regulation. Legal scholars say it’s an unavoidable consequence of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, which requires that firearm laws be rooted in historical tradition. [The Wall Street Journal]

From Our Team

Temple University is no stranger to violent crime: The area around its main campus in North Philadelphia regularly sees armed robberies, muggings, home invasions, and even shootings. But the killing of 31-year-old Temple Police Officer Christopher Fitzgerald — who was shot while on duty last month — has reenergized calls for the university to do more to keep students and employees alive. Community members are singling out one glaring deficiency: a dearth of officers on the understaffed campus police force.

Read more from The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean →

What to Know Today

Homicide clearance rates hit a 40-year low of about 50 percent in 2020, meaning half of the nation’s killings went unsolved even as murders — and police budgets — soared. [The Guardian]

The race for Chicago mayor is headed to a runoff. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson will face off in April. Incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot finished third in Tuesday’s election. [Chicago Sun-Times]

The Georgia House passed a school safety bill that would require schools to hold annual shooting drills. Democrats opposed to the bill argued that lockdown drills can traumatize students and criticized it for not including gun safety measures. [Georgia Recorder]

A North Carolina anti-violence group takes a holistic approach to preventing shootings: Heal Charlotte not only offers programming to young people at high risk of being involved in gun violence, but also provides services like food distribution to families and fosters relationships between police and community members. [WCNC]

Thousands of young Texans can now apply for a concealed carry permit, following a court decision that struck the state’s prohibition on licenses for eligible people younger than 21. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which initially fought the ruling before dropping it without explanation, has already received more than 100 applications. [The Dallas Morning News]

As the NRA struggles with dwindling membership and fewer political donations, the Missouri Firearms Coalition — a “no compromise” version of the national gun group, led by a trio of brothers described by longtime gun rights activists as “charlatans” — is gaining power. One example: The group killed widely popular legislation that would have banned Missouri kids from carrying guns in public. [Missouri Independent/NPR]

The daughter of a Los Angeles police union official last week became the third member of her family to shoot someone while on duty: Jamie McBride, the union vice president, and his daughters, Jacqueline and Toni, have been responsible for shooting a total of eight people, and killing two of them. [Los Angeles Times]


Lockdown: Living Through the Era of School Shootings, One Drill at a Time”: Every school performs lockdown drills in a different way, and every child experiences them alone. The Trace, in partnership with Slate, spoke to more than 20 students from different parts of the country to learn what they see, hear, and feel during what has become a routine experience in American schools. (December 18, 2019)

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