The Trace, A New Media Organization Committed To Shining Light On Gun Violence, Could Not Be Coming At A More Important Time
Despite the shockingly high number of people injured or killed by gun violence each year in the U.S. — more than 80 people per day are killed by a firearm — there remains very little information available about the impact of guns on American society. A brand-new independent media organization called The Trace aims to shed light on gun violence problems through in-depth and balanced reporting specifically on violent gun crimes.
From Virginia Tech to Newtown to Charleston, large-scale firearm tragedies have been on the rise over the last several years. A 2014 study carried out by the FBI revealed that between 2000 and 2006, there were 6.4 mass shootings per year, while from 2007 to 2013, there were 16.4 mass shootings per year. With the rates of gun-related deaths so high, it's clear why The Trace is eager to bring more information to light.
Even though President Obama lifted the ban on federal funding for gun violence research in 2013, there still has not been adequate funding allocated to gun violence research. As it stands, the gun lobby still controls most of the conversation surrounding gun crime. Seriously. Between election time in 2000 and 2013, the gun lobby spent nearly $81 million on congressional and presidential campaigns, while Obama asked Congress for only $10 million for gun violence research following the Newtown killings. Lee Drutman of the Sunlight Foundation has studied the relationship between gun lobby money and politics, and has publicly claimed that politicians “know what the NRA is capable of doing and the kinds of ads they’re capable of running, and especially if you’re someone facing a close election, you don’t want hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of dollars in advertising to go against you.”
In regards to that lack of information about gun violence, The Trace aims "to address [the] information deficit through daily reporting, investigations, analysis, and commentary on the policy, politics, culture, and business of guns in America." The eight founding journalists of the organization are committed to publishing articles that contain, they say, "accuracy, fairness, empathy, and doggedness" in the pursuit of bringing balance to the gun lobby dominance in the conversation surrounding gun issues.
The organization and their website are still brand-new, but it already has several enlightening pieces written on topics ranging from urban violence, gun theft, the gun lobby, and gun rights. One piece to check out in light of the recent tragedy in Charleston is an article published by Jennifer Mascia on Friday, which speaks to Charleston's spike in gun violence prior to Wednesday's murders. Mascia writes that Charleston's tri-county area has seen "a 40 percent increase [in murders], with guns used in nearly eight of every 10 killings" over the last year.
If you're interested in supporting the site through a monetary donation, you can send a contribution to: Trace Media Inc., P.O. Box 3886, New York, NY 10017. You can also support their work by following its reporting here.
Images: Getty Images; The Trace