What To Know Today
A mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, left 10 people dead. A man armed with a semiautomatic pistol walked into the King Soopers chain yesterday afternoon and opened fire, police officials and witnesses said. “He just came in and started shooting” without uttering a word, one witness told The Denver Post. “It seemed like all of us had imagined we’d be in a situation like this at some point in our lives,” said another survivor. The suspect was taken into custody but police offered few details about the incident or a possible motive. Eric Talley, the 51-year-old Boulder police officer who was the first to respond to reports of an active shooter, was among the dead, the city’s police chief said. The other victims have not yet been identified. The shooting occurred 10 days after a state judge overturned Boulder’s ban on assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines, though it wasn’t immediately clear if the perpetrator had weapons covered by the policy. (Follow updates on the incident here.) Zooming out: These types of mass shootings that dominate headlines have been less common in America over the past year, though mass shootings of a less visible sort have been occurring ever since the start of the pandemic — and in increased numbers that disproportionately affect Black communities. At least eight mass shootings nationwide claimed eight lives and left 33 people wounded between the Atlanta shootings last Tuesday and yesterday’s massacre in Boulder, according to Gun Violence Archive.
Coalition of attorneys general ask the DOJ to take action on ghost guns. A letter signed by top law enforcement officials in 17 states and Washington, D.C., called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — a Department of Justice agency — to recognize “that the federal Gun Control Act requires unfinished frames and receivers to be treated the same as fully-finished frames and receivers so that we can put an end to the alarming rise of ghost guns in our communities.” The ATF’s current interpretation means that background checks are not required to buy partially finished firearms, called 80 percent lower receivers, a common building block for making an unserialized ghost gun. The letter comes as leaders nationwide have reported increasing numbers of ghost guns showing up on city streets and at crime scenes. A sympathetic administration: Instituting new regulations on ghost guns is reportedly one of several executive actions on guns under discussion at the White House.
Status of gun legislation may push more Democrats toward filibuster changes. Senator Dianne Feinstein, long seen as one of her caucus’s most resistant voices to changing the chamber’s 60-vote supermajority requirement, told Bloomberg News that a failure to find bipartisan agreement on renewing the Violence Against Women Act and strengthening gun sale background checks might push her to change course. “If that proves impossible… I’m open to changing the way the Senate filibuster rules are used,” she said. Even with Feinstein’s support, however, Democrats lack the votes to make any rule changes for now.
Funding for student mental trauma offers first peek into how Chicago will use stimulus money. City officials announced a plan to spend $24 million of $1.8 billion received from the American Rescue Act over three years to more than double the number of Chicago schools with behavioral support teams, from about 200 to 500. The announcement comes after a year of rising violence, economic insecurity, and school disruptions wrought by the pandemic. “We want every single school to be able to coordinate wellness support for our students,” LaTanya McDade, the school district’s second-ranking official, told Chalkbeat Chicago.
NYPD officer previously arrested over brutality allegations is suspended for firing gun into the Atlantic Ocean. Police say David Afanador, 39, was off duty and carrying a loaded handgun and three loaded high-capacity magazines when he started firing at Long Beach. Afanador was previously placed on restricted assignment and prohibited from carrying guns on duty after being charged last year with putting a Black man in a banned chokehold. In 2016, he was acquitted of hitting a teenager with a firearm.
102 — America’s year-to-date total of mass shootings, defined as four or more victims. [Gun Violence Archive]