Why Do Most Gun Initiatives Ignore Black Men?


ProPublica explores why gun reform proposals are almost always driven by mass shootings, not the more prevalent problem of urban gun violence. In 2012, 90 people were killed in mass shootings like the ones in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. That same year, nearly 6,000 black men were murdered with guns. “The incidents of Newtown are very tragic,” says Michael McBride, a 37-year-old pastor from Berkeley, Calif. “But any meaningful conversation about addressing gun violence has to include urban gun violence.”

Gun violence in America is largely a story of race and geography. Almost two-thirds of America's more than 30,000 annual gun deaths are suicides, most of them committed by white men. In 2009, the gun homicide rate was two per 100,000 for white Americans and nearly 15 per 100,000 for black Americans. Among blacks, the risk of gun violence is mostly concentrated among a small number of men. McBride is an advocate for the Ceasefire program, where police team up with community leaders to identify and counsel the young men most at risk of violence. In Boston, Ceasefire has been credited in a sharp declined in youth homicides.

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