The Trace

I’m The Trace’s New Community Engagement Reporter. Chicago, I Want to Hear From You.

As someone who was born and raised in Chicago, I know what it feels like to have your community written about but not necessarily written for. I’ve seen how the endless cycle of news centered on trauma and tragedy misses the complexities of Chicago’s gun violence crisis, ignoring the underlying systems and policy decisions that create and concentrate violence. I have witnessed the immense loss that reverberates through a community when someone is killed by a gun. And I’ve heard the stories of the people whose deaths make up our victim counts, from friends, family, and neighbors who worry that despite near-constant media coverage of the violence and calls for change, the city isn’t doing anything that makes us feel safer.
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As SCOTUS Mulled Bruen, the NRA Lobbied in the Shadows

This story was published in partnership with POLITICO Magazine. In the first week of September 2018, during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, the National Rifle Association’s board gathered for its final meeting of the year across the Potomac at the Westin Arlington Gateway hotel. The NRA was campaigning hard in support of Kavanaugh, whose confirmation would instantly shift power on the court in the group’s favor, and in anticipation, the trustees of an NRA legal fund approved $360,000 to back a slate of lawsuits, hoping to propel cases to the court.

Tracking the Effects of the Supreme Court’s Gun Ruling

The Supreme Court’s first major Second Amendment ruling in a decade is already significantly reshaping gun laws in the United States. We’re tracking its effect throughout the country, from states and cities changing their gun laws to fresh legal challenges brought by advocacy groups. We’ll continue to update this post with new developments.

Texans Have a Complicated Relationship With Guns

This article is co-published with The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan local newsroom that informs and engages with Texans. Sign up for The Brief weekly to get up to speed on their essential coverage of Texas issues. Background checks for gun purchases in Texas rose during the weeks after the...

The Supreme’s Court Gun Decision Could Open This Policy up to Court Challenges

In June, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of New York law that required gun owners to show “proper cause” to carry a concealed gun in public. The decision effectively dismantled a policy known as “may-issue,” which was applied by New York and seven other states and gave licensing authorities the discretion to issue or deny concealed carry permits based on factors that go beyond basic requirements like passing a background check.

In a New Survey, Half of Americans Anticipate Civil War

This story was published in partnership with Slate. Half of Americans agree somewhat that there will be civil war “in the next few years” and nearly one in five are similarly confident that they will soon arm themselves with a gun in a situation where political violence is justified, according to a nationally representative survey released July 19.

The Real Significance of the Supreme Court’s Gun Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down a portion of New York State’s century-old firearm licensing law explicitly endorsed an individual right to carry a loaded handgun in public for self-defense, immediately imperiling restrictive public carry regulations in at least six states. But constitutional law experts interviewed...

What the SCOTUS Gun Ruling Changes for New Yorkers

On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment confers the right to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense. In New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, the court’s conservative majority voided the state’s requirement that gun owners show “proper cause” to carry a concealed firearm in public, and ruled that issuing authorities in seven other states no longer have the discretion to deny permits to concealed carry applicants if all the requirements are met.

What Will the First Federal Gun Reform Law in Three Decades Actually Do?

For the first time in nearly three decades, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed gun reform legislation. President Joe Biden signed it into law on June 25. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes billions in funding for mental health services, state red flag laws and crisis intervention programs, community violence prevention, and school safety — as well as several provisions that relate more directly to firearms and who can purchase them.

The Trace Is Hiring a Community Engagement Reporter in Philadelphia

The Trace is hiring a community engagement reporter to work full time in Philadelphia starting in the summer or fall of 2022. Please note that this role is focused on community engagement reporting and is distinct from the local beat reporter we are also hiring in Philadelphia. The two roles will work in tandem. For the local reporter listing, please click here.

Do Not Scapegoat Young People for the Increase in Gun Violence

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence has spiked significantly and cities across the nation are facing a perfect storm of challenges that are contributing to the crisis. Americans are understandably scared, and leaders are under pressure to act quickly to reverse the trend. Worsened by the public...

Young People Dream Up a Safer Summer in Chicago

Every Chicago summer follows a familiar pattern: Gun violence begins to spike around Memorial Day, sending municipal leaders into a fit over how to keep young people safe while community members offer up ideas and push back against efforts they doubt will help. This year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s response has centered on modifying the city’s decades-old curfew.

‘We Deserve for You to Protect Us:’ After A Grim Year of Shootings, Philadelphians Want Action

After a record year of homicides in 2021, Philadelphia is once again in the midst of a gun violence crisis, with 203 homicides to date, including carjackings, people shooting Uber drivers, and incidents that claim the lives of young people. Residents are fed up with the loss, the feeling that they might not be safe outside their homes — and by what many see as a lack of action from their elected leaders.

What You Need to Know About the Senate Gun Reform Bill

In a 65 to 33 vote, the Senate on June 23 passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a wide-ranging bill that addresses the so-called boyfriend loophole, clarifies which gun sellers need to seek a Federal Firearms License (which requires them to run background checks), and mandates an enhanced background check process for purchasers between the ages of 18 and 21. It is the first significant gun reform bill to make it out of the Senate in nearly three decades. The House quickly followed suit on June 24, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden.

Could All of New York City Be Designated a Gun-Free Zone?

The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday found New York’s restrictive handgun carry permit laws to be unconstitutional, triggering a scramble by state officials to find ways to create “sensitive locations” where handguns will still be prohibited. By a vote of 6 to 3, with the liberal justices dissenting,...

SCOTUS Says People Have a Right to Carry Guns in Public

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court struck down New York’s restrictive firearms licensing law, a decision that could transform gun ownership in New York City and affect at least five other states with similar regulations. In a 6-3 ruling, the court’s conservative majority endorsed, for the first time, a constitutional right to carry a gun in self-defense outside the home.