What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: How the U.S. guns fuel Mexican gun violence. In August, Mexico filed suit in U.S. federal court against several major American gunmakers, alleging that their negligent business practices have armed cartels and fueled the violence that has terrorized parts of the country in recent years. Alain Stephens takes a by-the-numbers look at the conflict. Two of the biggest figures: 150,000, the number of people killed from 2006 to 2018; and 56,000, the number of crime guns traced from Mexico to the U.S. between 2014 and 2018.

Officers in schools don’t prevent gun violence, while Black students pay a heavy cost. That’s the finding of a working paper from researchers at the University at Albany, SUNY, and the RAND Corporation. Looking at national school-level data from 2014 to 2018, the researchers found that while school resource officers lead to some decreases in general violence, they had no effect in preventing school shootings or gun-related incidents. Meanwhile, the presence of officers was associated with more suspensions, expulsions, police referrals, and arrests of students. Increased disciplinary actions were more than twice as likely to affect Black students than white students. Students with disabilities also faced higher rates of punishment. “We encourage districts to consider these effects of SROs in comparison to other potential investments to prevent violence in schools, including restorative practices,” the authors write.

A gunman killed two people and injured four others at a mall in Boise, Idaho. The incident occurred Monday afternoon at the Boise Towne Square Mall. Police said they responded to reports of shots fired at the mall and that responding officers engaged the suspect in a gun battle, leaving an officer among the wounded. The suspect was also critically injured and taken into custody. “We really cannot at this time speak to any motivation behind it,” the police chief said, citing an ongoing investigation. “I cannot stress enough how traumatic this event is for the community at large.” It was the 585th mass shooting (defined as four or more people injured) this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Fewer than 1% of crisis calls handled by co-responder model in California led to arrests. In 2018, Santa Barbara County launched a program that pairs mental health clinicians with sheriff’s deputies when they respond to calls of people in crisis. In 2020, the so-called co-response teams responded to 1,606 of 2,984 total calls. (Law enforcement responded to the rest alone.) Just 11 calls lead to an arrest. Deputies told Noozhawk the model makes use of force less likely. As The Trace has reported, several cities and counties across the country are experimenting with alternatives to law enforcement-only responses to 911 calls. 

With two months left in 2021, Portland reaches an all-time high for homicides. A spate of more than a dozen shootings over the weekend led to the city’s 71st and 72nd homicide of the year, toppling a previous annual record of 70 people killed in all of 1987. Homicides in Portland declined for decades before going up sharply in 2020 and remaining high this year. About three-quarters of homicides this year have been a result of gun violence.

Data Point

8 — the number of states with laws restricting the ownership, manufacture, or possession of unserialized ghost guns or ghost gun kits after Delaware enacted its own ghost gun statute last week. [Giffords]