What To Know Today

The record gun buying surge continued as Americans purchased another 1.7 million guns last month. The seasonally adjusted figure includes more than a million handguns and 670,000 rifles and shotguns and reflects a 52 percent increase from November 2019. Estimated gun sales have now surpassed 20 million for the year, beating the previous high of ~16.6 million in 2016, according to Small Arms Analytics. You can follow the historic gun sales boom with our tracker, which also provides a snapshot of the numbers for your state. 

“Someone’s going to get shot”: Republican election official in Georgia blasts Trump’s disinformation. Gabriel Sterling, a deputy to the secretary of state, denounced the ongoing violent threats and harassment directed at his colleagues as he pleaded with the president to de-escalate his unfounded claims of election fraud. “Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia,” Sterling said from the steps of the state Capitol. “We’re investigating. There’s always a possibility, I get it, you have the right to go to the courts. What you don’t have is the ability to — and you need to step up and say this — is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence. Someone’s going to get hurt. Someone’s going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed.” 

The Bay Area was a model for effective gun violence prevention. The pandemic upended its progress. Between 2007 and 2017, gun homicides decreased by 30 percent in 100+ cities across the area, with Oakland seeing the largest decline at 44 percent. Criminologists and local leaders have attributed the success to community-focused violence prevention programs like Oakland’s version of Operation Ceasefire. But this year, gun violence is steadily rising — just as it has in cities across the country. Violence prevention workers tell The Guardian that pandemic closures of community spaces like schools and hospitals have disrupted vital outreach work and counseling that normally takes place in person, a challenge we’ve reported on elsewhere. A local advocate summed up the distressing conundrum: “We can’t respond how we did pre-Covid.”

Researchers found possible links between looser state gun laws and spiking youth suicides. A team from the University of Missouri-Kansas City examined how two policy moves made by lawmakers in Springfield during the last 15 years — repealing the state permit-to-purchase (P2P) license requirement and lowering the age limit for concealed carriers to 19 — affected young residents. They found:

  • a 32 percent increase in firearm suicides rates for people aged 14 to 18 associated with the lowered concealed carry age limit in 2014
  • a 22 percent increase in firearm suicide rates in people aged 19 to 24 as a result of the 2007 P2P repeal

Previous research has similarly linked loosening P2P restriction to upticks in suicide among young people, though a RAND meta-study on the issue found that the connection was inconclusive. As to why expanding concealed carry to younger people might affect suicide levels, one of the authors told Missouri’s NPR station: “It’s possible as more people buy weapons that could be used in concealed carry, they’re also then not keeping them as safely.” [If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24 hours a day: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.]

Data Point

14 — the number of open crime investigations this year that agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives linked to a single Glock in Minneapolis using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The city has had more homicides than any point since the mid-1990s. [The Star Tribune]