In the past 10 years, the number of Texas youth dying by firearm fatalities has nearly tripled. As gun violence has become the leading cause of death for Texas youth, families, researchers, and law enforcement are searching for solutions. [The Texas Tribune]
From Our Team
Over the last few decades, the reasons why Americans say they buy guns have gone from hunting game to defending themselves against other humans. Lethality is essential when attempting to turn a deer or elk into supper, but what about when defending one’s homestead, especially since shooting a firearm in self-defense can lead to time in prison?
Enter “less lethal” weapons — designed to deter and disorient, but not to kill. Massachusetts-based weapons-maker Byrna is the first company of its kind to put serious effort into getting its launchers into the hands of as much of the American public as possible. Unlike the Taser, which has been almost exclusively marketed to law enforcement, Byrna’s devices retain much of the experience of shooting traditional firearms: They resemble Glock handguns but instead of bullets, they shoot plastic spheres sometimes loaded with chemical irritants. Their impact is excruciating, but they don’t move fast enough to penetrate skin. The company says it has sold 300,000 launchers since 2019.
Founder Bryan Ganz describes himself as “a gun-toting, whiskey-drinking, truck-driving liberal,” but author Ted Alcorn notes he’s more often behind the wheel of his Audi R8 supercar. “There’s a fraying of the social fabric around the world. It’s a little scary,” Ganz told Alcorn. “On the other hand, people are truly fed up with gun violence.”
While each outlook presents its own challenges for the company, Ganz had this to say: “Both are tailwinds for Byrna.”
What to Know Today
A new study from researchers at Princeton University found that stricter state-level gun regulations reduced gun deaths by about 10 percent. The study analyzed data from 1991 to 2016. [The New York Times]
Citing frustration and inaction on the part of the GOP, House Democrats came together to announce plans for a public forum on gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting in Maine last week. [The Hill]
The families of shooting victims are suing the city of Baltimore after a shooting this summer left two dead and two injured during a block party in the Brooklyn Homes community. Their claims are against the State of Maryland, the Baltimore City Police Department, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, among others. The families’ attorney said this litigation is the only way to stop such events from happening in the future. [The Baltimore Banner]
After the mass shooting in Maine that left 18 people dead, teachers grapple with the tough questions that follow around safety and national gun violence. [The Boston Globe]
As Macon, Georgia, navigates record high homicide rates in recent years, one father who lost his daughter to gun violence 10 years ago — and his grandson this Saturday — is pleading for change. [WMAZ]
What Gun Violence Prevention Looks Like When It Focuses on the Communities Hurt the Most: Activists have long fought to make urban violence a priority for the movement. Now they are slowly securing more dollars for the programs proven capable of saving lives. (July 2019)