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Trading guns for bail? One startup’s improbable plan for reducing violence

by Stephen Babcock |  |  Published on November 4, 2016

Trevor Brooks knows about the intertwining of illegal guns, violence and the justice system — a toxic tapestry that has long held Baltimore back.

Talking about his startup, GunBail, he rattles off a number of stats. About 97 percent of homicides are committed with illegal guns in the U.S., and 55 percent of offenders have access to an illegal gun, he said.

“I want to change the condition that I came from.”

Brooks also understands these issues because he has seen them firsthand.

The Baltimore native says he first got his hands on a gun at age 12, and later spent time in prison on a homicide conviction that was later overturned. While in prison, he took courses and did legal research that eventually helped him get out. But in his studies, he wanted to make a difference for more than just himself. He said he thought, “If I get another chance, what I want to do is make it better for other people.”

Brooks spent time at the Silicon Valley-based NewMe Accelerator earlier this year. The app is now on Google Play. Over the summer, he returned to Baltimore.

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