What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: To shed a cage. Wisconsin incarcerates Black men at a higher rate than any other U.S. state. Between 1962 and 1980, the state’s rate of violent crime increased more than six-fold. In turn, policy makers began to clamp down on reform efforts, interpreting the rise in violence as evidence of the effort failing. In a new piece in partnership with The Guardian, Champe Barton profiles Hamid Abd-Al-Jabbar and David Thompson, who were arrested in 1984 and sent to juvenile detention, as politicians laid the framework to make harsher penalties that would disproportionately ensnare Black men in a mass incarceration boom. Jabbar and Thompson bonded over being some of the youngest in the detention center. After spending most of the following 40 years in prison, their friendship helped them find their footing as they faced the ever present difficulties of reentering society from one of the country’s most unforgiving penal systems.

NEW from THE TRACE: New bill targets lawbreaking gun dealers. Congressional Democrats want to toughen penalties for unscrupulous gun dealers with a measure that follows our reporting and President Joe Biden’s pledge to make combating dealer noncompliance a significant part of his violence prevention strategy. If approved, the reintroduction of the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act would make it easier for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to shutter lawbreaking gun dealers and allow the agency to fine them as much as $10,000 for each violation of federal rules. The bill would also increase penalties for dealers that falsify records, raise the number of times the ATF is allowed to inspect gun dealers, and allow the agency to hire more inspectors. Brian Freskos has that story.

Disabled survivors of gun violence want you to know their reality. A social media campaign from Disability Pride Pennsylvania is bringing awareness to the physical and mental toll of gun violence for those who survive shootings. The group’s board chair Chuck Horton Jr. was shot at a party in Philadelphia in 1988 after a fight broke out. At 17 years old, he sustained a spinal cord injury, and at 50, he uses a wheelchair to get around. “That one bullet changes the entire community, changes everybody’s lifestyle and their life in so many ways that people really don’t understand,” Horton told WHYY. “It’s not over after that trigger is pulled and it hits someone. It’s the beginning of a new life, and some people just don’t know how to live.” Related: The Trace profiled members of a New York City artists’ collective of gun violence survivors and how they use the arts to heal. 

Oath Keeper admits he stashed guns for insurrection. Mark Grods pleaded guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy and obstructing Congress, and acknowledged the Justice Department’s claims that he and members of the far-right militant group came to Washington, D.C., on January 6 with plans for violence and to get weapons into the city, where guns are heavily restricted. Grods is the second Oath Keeper to take a government plea deal admitting to conspiracy charges, following Graydon Young last week. A third Oath Keeper at the Capitol pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge. Related: The DOJ charged a U.S. Army veteran who was the first alleged Capitol rioter to have ties to the boogaloo movement, a loosely organized far-right faction prepping for a civil war. The Trace has covered how ammo makers and gun shops have been marketing to boogaloo believers. 

Trial begins for gunman who killed five at the Capital Gazette in 2018. Defense attorneys’ opening statements described the perpetrator as suffering from delusions and other mental health challenges at the time of the shooting. Prosecutors decided to hold their opening statements until after the defense rests its case.

Data Point

$21 million — the amount of funding The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research has given to 44 projects. This week, the group announced a third round of grants of nearly $1 million that will go to studying how street outreach workers interact with young people, surveying gun users about the harms and benefits of various gun polices, and more. [National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research]