What to Know Today

Who gives a house to a gun researcher? In July 2020, John Lott — an economist whose research has, for 30 years, provided the statistical veneer for the gun rights movement — received a house in a picturesque neighborhood in Missoula, Montana. It was left to him by David Strom, a lifetime NRA member who stockpiled guns and firearms accessories. Until now, Lott has never publicly disclosed how he and Strom, who allotted no assets to his adopted children after his death, were linked. The Trace’s Mike Spies has the story.

Mass shooting survivor sues Walmart. Donya Prioleau, an employee at the Virginia Walmart where a gunman killed six people on November 22, has filed a lawsuit against the retailer, alleging negligence. Prioleau, who is seeking $50 million in damages, argues that Walmart knew the gunman had “propensities for violence” and exhibited “disturbing and threatening behavior” before the shooting. Prioleau says she filed a complaint about the gunman, a supervisor at the Walmart, in September, The Washington Post reports, and that on the same day her mother told a manager she was “very concerned for her daughter’s safety” during a visit to the store. 

In 2021, the U.S. gun death rate rose to its highest level in nearly 30 years. The increases weren’t evenly distributed. A new analysis of mortality data reveals the startling disparities driving a staggering increase in gun deaths nationwide. Sharp rises in homicides of Black men and suicides among white men drove the national gun death rate to roughly 15 gun deaths per 100,000 people, the highest since the early ’90s. The most dramatic increase among a demographic group occurred among Black women: Their rate of gun-related homicides more than tripled since 2010, and the rate of gun suicides more than doubled since 2015. As The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia reported in September, the overall number of people who died by gun hit an all-time high last year.

Trial for Oxford shooter’s parents temporarily suspended. The Michigan Supreme Court sent the case back to an appeals court to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold Jennifer and James Crumbley responsible for the killing of four students by their son. The parents purchased the gun used in the school shooting, the anniversary of which was yesterday. According to the Detroit Free Press, Jennifer and James Crumbley are the first parents in the U.S. to be charged in a mass school shooting. 

Take the Biden administration to court, win a gun: Firearms Policy Coalition fundraises off legal fight against ghost gun regulation. The FPC, which has clear ties to extremist groups, won a preliminary injunction in October against the application of new federal rules to regulate ghost guns. The group is raising money for the challenge — and offering incentives, HuffPost reports. Its fundraising website says people who donate could win a pistol outfitted with a silencer. Loopholes abound: Dealers quickly found a workaround to Biden’s ghost gun regulations, and the rules don’t affect the potentially millions of ghost gun kits previously in circulation.

What to Know Today

1,000 percent — the increase in ghost guns recovered at crime scenes between 2016 and 2021. [ATF]