When young people commit or fall victim to a high-profile act of violence, one of the most common policy responses is to institute a youth curfew — a reaction that has endured since the 1990s “tough on crime” era, persisting even when young people aren’t responsible for spikes in violent crime and as a body of research has shown that curfews usually aren’t effective. Advocates have long urged cities to instead invest in creating safe spaces for young people, like recreation centers or summer job programs. In some places, officials have tried to do both: In addition to enacting a curfew, they’ve introduced “youth engagement centers,” where young people caught violating the curfew can be taken if they don’t want to go home.

Jackson, Mississippi, is among the cities contending with these centers. In January, the City Council passed a nighttime curfew after a teenager shot and killed another teenager; not long after, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba proposed creating curfew centers. But as The Marshall Project reports, the centers aren’t a panacea: Cities with similar curfew programs have struggled with low attendance, and young people are already skeptical. As Darius Nelson, a youth organizer in Jackson, put it, young people are tired of being framed as “the big, bad boogeyman.” 

How might these spaces be more effective? Officials in Baltimore and Philadelphia, which have similar programs, proposed focusing on individual kids’ needs, getting young people involved in planning the centers, and minimizing the presence of police, among other suggestions. Read more from The Marshall Project.

What to Know Today

Americans bought an estimated 1.22 million guns in June 2024, according to our analysis of FBI data. That’s down about 4 percent from June 2023. [The Trace

Wisconsin Pastor Matthew Trewhella has made a career of demonizing abortion rights and gun restrictions. Two decades ago, his reputation for blockading abortion clinics, calling for churches to form militias, and defending the murder of abortion providers made him a pariah. But now, his extremist messaging is being quoted by top Republicans and influencing party politics. [ProPublica and Wisconsin Watch

Multiple studies show that, unlike the U.S., most countries didn’t experience a dramatic rise in homicides during the first years of the pandemic. Why wasn’t the spike seen elsewhere? [Vox

Several conservative provisions in the House Appropriations Committee spending bill for 2025 would limit President Joe Biden and the Justice Department on gun policy. Three distinct riders would prohibit the use of funds to toughen regulations on firearms, block funds for “any regulation” issued by the ATF during the Biden administration, and ban funds from being used to implement “red-flag” laws — which allow temporary court orders that forbid a person who they believe may present a danger from having a gun. [Roll Call]

There have been more officer shootings of people in crisis holding “edged weapons” this year than in 2022, an LA Times analysis of police data shows. In the first half of 2024, LAPD officers have shot six people  — including four fatally — who were holding sharp objects while experiencing behavioral or mental health crises, putting them on track to surpass last year’s 11. Since 2018, the analysis found, officers have opened fire at least 56 times, killing 35 people and injuring 19 in similar circumstances. [Los Angeles Times

ICYMI: We’re hiring! The Trace is looking for a director of development to help sustain and expand our high-impact, award-winning reporting on gun violence. The deadline to apply is July 26. View the job listing here.

Alma Beauvais contributed to this section. 


As Midterms Loom, Right Wingers Are Revving Up the Faithful with Talk of Religion and Guns: Extremism experts warn that a new crop of ideologues using voter fraud conspiracy theories and religious appeals are pushing their followers toward armed rebellion. (September 2022)