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While Congress has been caught in a perpetual argument over whether to require background checks for all gun sales, several states have already acted. Those that have added additional background check laws regarding private gun sales tend to have lower gun death rates.

Expand chart
Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Everytown; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: Of course, correlation doesn't equal causation, but typically trends like this at least spark smart, nuanced research. Gun deaths are comparatively under-researched, and gun debates on Capitol Hill are based more on emotions than the facts and trends we do know.

“There is research that does suggest that background checks can be effective in reducing firearm violence.”
— Michael Siegel, professor at Boston University School of Public Health

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.