Featured Story

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation, often referred to as “constitutional” or permitless carry, that allows residents to carry a handgun in most public places without obtaining a permit or, as previously required, going through training and passing a background check. The bill — which took effect on March 7, the day it was signed — also lowered the carry age from 21 to 18. Law enforcement agencies in the state are bracing for the spread of permitless carry, and one sheriff already fears the worst. [The Post and Courier]

Mass Shooting

One year ago, a 39-year-old father of five was killed and three other people were wounded in a shooting in Brooklyn. The violence took place around the corner from New York Assemblymember Monique Chandler-Waterman’s home — and it was the kind of mass shooting that happens “a lot in districts like mine,” Chandler-Waterman, who represents two predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods, said two months later, ahead of a vote on legislation to spell out what constitutes a mass shooting under state law. “These incidents are never called a mass shooting, and resources are rarely provided.”

The bill initially defined a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people, excluding the perpetrator, were injured or killed. But by the time it was signed by Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul in December, the definition had narrowed to encompass only incidents in which at least four people were killed. Injured victims were left out — and according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which defines mass shootings as the legislation first did, so were 99 percent of mass shootings that have occurred in the state over the last decade, the one near Chandler-Waterman’s home last year among them. The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia has the story on New York’s flawed effort to provide resources for mass shooting victims.

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Public Health

In 2019, Congress allocated federal dollars to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to fund studies of gun violence for the first time since 1995. The shift in resources followed years of political hostility toward funding these studies — and created an opportunity to widen the field, leading to more diversity in both the demographics of researchers and the topics of the research itself. 

After struggling for decades to advance their work, gun violence researchers of color are beginning to close what has long been a notable deficiency of diversity in their field. Their work is contributing to what we know about effective interventions, prevention, and community involvement in solutions. In her latest story, The Trace’s Fairriona Magee profiles the Black and Brown Collective, a network formed to address inequities in the gun violence research community, and reports how researchers who have experienced gun violence are strengthening our understanding of what makes marginalized communities vulnerable to it.

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What to Know Today

In recent years, communities across the country have fallen victim to shootings carried out with guns illegally outfitted with devices that enable semiautomatic weapons to fire like machine guns. The ATF reported a shocking 570 percent increase in recoveries of such conversion devices between 2017 and 2021. “Police officers are facing down fully automatic weapon fire in amounts that haven’t existed in this country since the days of Al Capone and the Tommy gun,” said ATF Director Steve Dettelbach. “It’s a huge problem.” [Associated Press]

Nine public employees were among 18 people charged by the Manhattan district attorney over an alleged criminal conspiracy that involved manufacturing ghost guns, stealing personal information from unhoused people, burglary, and defrauding a state pandemic relief program, according to indictments unveiled last week. [The New York Times]  

In a stark reversal from the reformist stances that emerged after George Floyd’s killing in 2020, fears of crime are pushing voters and lawmakers to roll back measures to prevent and check police brutality, even as violence, including shootings, decreases in much of the country. “Tough-on-crime” policies are garnering support even in some of America’s largest, historically Democratic-leaning cities. [The Washington Post/Politico

A respected laboratory at Boston University found that the Army Reserve member who carried out the deadliest mass shooting in Maine’s history in October had significant brain damage of the kind seen in military veterans who were repeatedly exposed to blasts during their service. The shooter, who never saw combat, was a grenade instructor for many years. [The New York Times]

In Los Angeles, armed robberies of French bulldogs are on the rise — and sometimes turn deadly. The violence prompted one victim to purchase a firearm: “I hate guns. But if you want to have a dog in LA, you have to have a gun.” [Los Angeles Magazine]

Data Point

800 or more per minute — the rate at which a semiautomatic weapon can fire bullets when outfitted with certain machine gun conversion devices. [ATF via Associated Press]