New From The Trace

Baltimore celebrates successful cease-fire weekend. There were no reported fatal shootings from Wednesday through at least Saturday, according to Baltimore Ceasefire 365, as the group put on its first cease-fire weekend of 2021. As The Trace has reported, research has associated the grassroots program with a more than 50 percent reduction in shootings during the multiday events it organizes four times a year, though the pandemic has posed challenges given that the group’s marches, social activities and outreach are usually in-person. The pause in deadly gunfire was a welcome respite for a city that recorded 30 homicides during the first five weeks of the year.

NRA donor says he’ll seek Wayne LaPierre’s ouster in bankruptcy case. On Thursday, a federal trustee announced the four members of an unsecured creditors committee as a part of the National Rifle Association’s Chapter 11 filing. The committee includes the group’s erstwhile PR firm Ackerman McQueen, with whom the gun group is currently battling in court, and donor David Dell’Aquila, who is leading a class-action lawsuit against the organization. Now Dell’Aquila tells The Washington Free Beacon that he plans to petition for a court-appointed trustee to take over leadership of the NRA. Meanwhile, the group faces legal pressure on other fronts: 

  • Grumblings from the NRA board?: Phillip Journey, a judge in Kansas who won his seat as an NRA director in 2020 and also served on the group’s board in the 1990s, notified the Texas court hearing the gun group’s bankruptcy case that he’s secured representation in the case. My colleague Will Van Sant notes: “I’d heard recently that Journey and a handful of other board members have concerns about actions taken by the NRA’s current leadership.” Journey has indicated he may take further action in the case, but offered no details.
  • A judicial panel rejected the NRA’s request to consolidate lawsuits against it. The United States Panel on Multidistrict Legislation denied the NRA’s petition to lump together several of its ongoing legal battles, including the donors’ class action, court fights with Ackerman McQueen, and the New York attorney general’s suit seeking the gun group’s dissolution. 

ICYMI: Extremists are using pro-gun messages to attract new members. Far-right groups are looking for issues that can be used to coalesce Americans with right-wing beliefs the way “Stop the Steal” misinformation did during the build-up to the Capitol siege. The Trace reviewed hundreds of posts in far-right forums and found that gun rights rhetoric and conspiracy theories about government gun confiscation are central to their efforts. Experts have also noticed the dynamic — “everything is about the guns,” one researcher told Chip Brownlee. Read the story.

Violence interrupters argue for a living wage. Programs that deploy community mediators to diffuse conflicts before they escalate into shootings have been shown to reduce bloodshed. So why does street outreach work pay so little — if at all? In our weekly newsletter (which you can add to your subscription here), my colleague Jennifer Mascia spoke with the leaders of groups pressing that question. “Nationwide, none of us are receiving what we should,” said one.

House levies first fines against members for bucking metal detector requirement. Republican Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Andrew Clyde were each charged $5,000 for bypassing scanners installed after the Capitol insurrection, a Democratic aide told USA Today. Last week, the House voted to mandate financial penalties for failure to comply with the new guidelines after numerous House Republicans openly flouted them.

Data Point

18,800 — the number of groups Facebook says it removed by the end of November 2020 after instituting a new policy against militarized social movements. [Forbes]