About The Trace
Every year in our country, a firearm is used in nearly 500,000 crimes, resulting in the deaths and injuries of more than 110,000 people. Meanwhile, the problem of gun violence has been compounded by another: the shortage of knowledge about the issue. We started our site to fill that information void.
Most Americans simply are not aware of how many lives firearms claim, nor understand the factors that contribute to that total. In one poll, the median estimate given for annual gun-related fatalities was 5,000 deaths—less than one sixth of the actual number.
The national conversation on gun violence mostly misses the big picture. Mass shootings drive headlines and political responses, but they comprise only 2 percent of gun deaths.
Data and records are shielded from public view—or don’t exist. Gun-lobby backed restrictions on federal gun violence research deprive policymakers and public health experts of potentially life-saving facts.
An emboldened NRA has operated largely in secrecy, while actively promoting misinformation. With for-profit newsrooms stretched thin, the group has aggressively expanded the presence of firearms in public spaces and institutions and used conspiracy theories about gun confiscation to oppose tighter restrictions.
Misinformation and ignorance halt progress on gun violence. Our briefings bring you the facts.