Top Story

U.S. Representative Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio, threw a new complication into a congressional debate over the limits of the government’s surveillance power: He linked it to the Second Amendment, arguing in a letter that gun owners are left vulnerable under current laws. An official with Gun Owners of America said the group is “closely tracking” the debate. [Politico]

Mass Shooting

On Sunday, as worshippers filed in for a Spanish-language service at celebrity pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, a woman opened fire with an AR-15, wounding two people — including her young son, whom she had brought with her — before she was shot and killed by off-duty police officers working security.

Mass shooters often have similar characteristics, but there’s no neat profile that fits the megachurch shooter. Some characteristics set this attack apart, while others underscore gaps in the law that have allowed a number of shooters to acquire firearms. The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia has the story.

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On the campaign trail last year, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson promised that, if elected, he would end the city’s use of ShotSpotter, a controversial gunshot detection technology that alerts police to shootings by using hundreds of acoustic sensors. After nine months in office, Johnson announced yesterday that he was making good. 

The decision to end Chicago’s contract with SoundThinking — the new name of the company behind the technology — comes after years of criticism from researchers and community activists who say ShotSpotter is not only ineffective, but also leads to unnecessary and dangerous interactions between police and residents, especially in Black and brown communities on the South and West Sides. The Trace’s Justin Agrelo has the story.

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What to Know Today

One year after three people were killed in a shooting at Michigan State University, a trio of new gun laws took effect in the state: universal background checks for firearm purchases, safe storage requirements, and an extreme risk protection law. Meanwhile, students in East Lansing who spent hours sheltering in place that day say they still struggle to feel safe on campus. [Detroit Free Press/The Detroit News

There’s strong evidence that the U.S. experienced a historic decline in violent crime in 2023. Why don’t Americans believe it? [NPR

Nearly two-thirds of Tennessee parents have had conversations with their children about guns in schools, according to a survey conducted by Vanderbilt University. The survey, conducted after a deadly school shooting in Nashville last March and ensuing political fallout over the summer, also showed that a majority of parents opposed arming teachers and allowing guns on school property. [The Tennessean

Illinois gun rights groups asked the Supreme Court to overturn the state’s ban on assault weapons, a move that had been anticipated following a 7th Circuit ruling that upheld the measure. The Illinois Legislature passed the ban, part of a sweeping gun reform package, in response to a 2022 mass shooting in Highland Park. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Data Point

63 percent — the proportion of Americans who said they felt the country had either a “very” or “extremely” serious crime problem in 2023, per an annual crime survey conducted by Gallup. That’s the highest in the poll’s history going back to 2000. [NPR]