From Our Team

Studying gun violence is hard. But intervention programs need research to survive. While federal, state, and local governments are pouring billions of dollars into community-based violence intervention programs, critics are pushing back, saying there isn’t enough rigorous scholarship to support the investment. There is evidence of the efficacy of such programs, The Trace’s Olga Pierce reports, but studying the nature of violence is complicated and expensive. The back-and-forth raises an important question: If gun violence is a key social crisis of our time, why don’t we have more science about how to stop it? Read Pierce’s full story here.

What to Know Today

Could the Justice Department’s appeal over Sutherland Springs endanger gun safety laws? The DOJ is nearing what is likely its final deadline to appeal the decision that found the federal government liable for the 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; the department first announced that it would appeal in June. Survivors and families of victims, as well as gun safety groups, say they fear what an appeal could mean for federal firearm laws, NBC News reports — in its original argument, the Justice Department claimed that the shooter, an Air Force veteran whose court-martial was never reported to the FBI, would have found a way to obtain a gun even if he had been in the background check system.

  • How domestic violence foreshadows mass shootings: Years before his attack, the Sutherland Springs gunman spent a year in military prison for assaulting his wife and child. He’s not an anomaly
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Closing the ghost gun loophole. The ATF last week issued an open letter to federal firearm licensees stating that partially completed pistol frames and parts kits are subject to regulation, The Hill reports. The new guidance is meant to tamp down on ghost gun vendors skirting President Joe Biden’s effort to curb the sale of homemade, untraceable firearms.

“It feels like a forgotten sector of people”: Disabled shooting survivors find community in support networks. As gun violence has increased in the U.S., so too has the number of people left with long-term disabilities after surviving a shooting. But disabled victims are often overlooked, advocates told The New York Times. Over the past decade, peer support groups have started filling in the gaps.

Philadelphia’s violence prevention hotline fields hundreds of calls in its first year. Residents in areas with high levels of gun violence were among the most likely to contact the new 211 hotline, Billy Penn reports. The line, which is monitored around the clock, connects callers with conflict intervention services, counseling, and mentorship programs.

Data Point

>$230 million — the amount of damages the Air Force was ordered to pay victims of the Sutherland Springs mass shooting after it failed to report the shooter’s history of violence to the FBI. The DOJ said in June it intended to appeal the ruling. [Texas Public Radio]