Last week, after The Trace published a list of books that help explain America’s gun violence crisis, I asked you, Bulletin readers, to let us know what we left off our reading list. Thanks to everyone who responded! Here are a few of your (lightly edited) recommendations. Please note that purchasing these books via the links below supports our nonprofit newsroom through Bookshop.org’s affiliate program.
Dying of Whiteness, by Jonathan M. Metzl
“I worked in gun violence prevention for five years before I found this book, and it still completely changed the way I was looking at how gun policies are shaped and why, as well as the toll of gun suicide in America, and how race is so inherently intertwined with the obsession over guns and pushback against all reasonable reforms,” wrote Alexa Tomassi. Another reader, Kaitlin, said: “While the entire book is excellent, the section on Missouri and guns is what taught me a lot about gun violence — particularly what it’s like in American cities and states that deal with the deadly consequences of rolling back gun regulations.”
Not Another One! A Play For Peace, by Saint Louis Story Stitchers
This collection, created by BIPOC artists and young people in St. Louis, was generated to address gun violence and negative interactions between police and younger residents. The book includes stories, a transcript of a youth-led discussion after Michael Brown’s killing in nearby Ferguson and materials for educators. Recommended by Susan Colangelo.
American Carnage, by Thomas Gabor and Fred Guttenberg
“Tom Gabor and Fred Guttenberg undertake the Herculean task of exposing ‘alternative facts’ in the gun debate for what they really are: half-truths, myths, and, in some instances, outright lies,” Bulletin reader Barbara Markley said of this book. “American Carnage is a seminal work because it lays the groundwork for an open and honest national dialogue on one of the most pressing problems of our time: gun violence.” Thanks to Carol Rescigno and author Tom Gabor for sending this book our way, too.
Homegrown, by Jeffrey Toobin
“It is a powerful indictment of the far right and the move toward repealing gun control laws in many states,” said Ed O’Farrell. “I had to put it down from time to time as the evidence and conclusions about the far right’s effects on gun violence are inescapable and frightening.”
Gunfight, by Ryan Busse
“Ryan has an interesting insight as a former gun manufacturer sales exec. Particularly, he led the team at his company during the rise of the ARs and the NRA’s increased influence on politics,” said Jeffrey Bozell. Bulletin reader Tabitha A. wrote: “Understanding the gun industry by an industry insider is very helpful, especially when charting the rise of the NRA in political circles.”
What to Know Today
ICYMI: The field of violence interruption is experiencing something unfamiliar: a rush of funding. What do these programs need to succeed? [The Trace]
The gun violence epidemic touches every aspect of American life, intersecting with the most important issues in the contemporary U.S. and creating an atmosphere of fear in the day to day. The Trace’s Fairriona Magee appeared on the podcast “Our Body Politic” to discuss viewing gun violence through a public health lens, and the importance of investing in communities that have learned to navigate the crisis. [Our Body Politic]
Military service is the “single strongest individual-level predictor” — more so than mental health issues, criminal experience, or age — that an extremist will plan or carry out a mass-casualty event, according to terrorism researchers at the University of Maryland. Their study comes as the Defense Department struggles to address extremism in the ranks. [Task & Purpose/START]
The North Carolina GOP voted to censure Senator Thom Tillis, a stalwart conservative and a lead negotiator on last year’s bipartisan gun safety bill, over his support for extreme risk protection order laws and legal protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. [Mother Jones]
New polling suggests that there’s an emerging gender divide over guns in the GOP: Republican women not only tend to support certain firearm restrictions more than Republican men, but they also mostly agree with Democratic and independent women on what those measures should be. [Politico]
The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear an appeal of the 5th Circuit decision that overturned a federal ban on gun possession by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. [The New York Times] Context: If justices pick up the case, as expected, they’ll have an opportunity to explore the boundaries of the Bruen opinion’s framework for deciding Second Amendment cases. It’s a precedent test: In order for a gun law to be constitutional, per the ruling, it must have an analog that is well-established in American history.
Cities and counties nationwide have revived youth curfews over the past year. For young people experiencing homelessness, these measures can have a “domino effect,” leading to increased contact with the criminal legal system that creates barriers to finding stable housing and employment. [Streetlight]
On New Year’s Eve, a group of about a dozen friends — most of whom are queer, transgender, Black or Indigenous — visited Discount Gun Mart, a firing range in San Diego, to celebrate a birthday; among them was Chad Loder, a cybersecurity expert and prominent anti-extremism activist, who said they were unnerved by an interaction with an employee. Hours after they left, a right-wing Twitter account began posting about the friends’ locations, and an anti-trans protester claimed weeks later that she got their names and numbers from the firing range. The friends still don’t know if their personal information is secure. [inewsource]
Oakland Police response times for high-priority incidents, like violent crimes involving weapons, are getting slower: In 2022, the average response time was nearly 20 minutes. Some residents no longer bother calling 911. [The San Francisco Standard]
The parents of the shooter who attacked Nashville’s Covenant School in March unexpectedly awarded ownership of their child’s writings to nearly 100 students’ families involved in a legal battle to keep the documents from reaching the public. [The Tennessean]
61 percent — the proportion of Republican women who say they would support restricting the ability to purchase certain types of firearms. Just 41 percent of Republican men say they’d support such a policy action. [Politico]