What To Know Today

Intimate partner shooting deaths are soaring — especially since the pandemic. In a new story about how existing laws leave lethal loopholes for domestic violence victims, Reveal News and The Guardian obtained previously unpublished FBI data showing that gun homicides by intimate partners are at their highest levels since the mid-90s. While there’s been a steady 58-percent total increase in the last decade, 2020 alone saw a 25-percent spike over 2019. Women accounted for over two-thirds of intimate partner gun homicide victims in 2020. Many of those killings were committed by people who weren’t allowed to possess guns under federal law: Reveal obtained data from 21 states that included at least 110 cases from 2017 through 2020, suggesting the nationwide total could be much higher. The FBI data, also analyzed by Northeastern University professor and criminologist James Alan Fox, shows that more than 122,000 Americans have died by the hands of their intimate partners since 1976; 2,800 of those happened in 2020, which the story labels “an especially lethal period for abuse victims.” Related from The Trace: Ann Givens wrote about how firearms restrictions aren’t automatically included in temporary orders of protection in many states. 

Baltimore budgets $50M from federal stimulus for community violence intervention. Mayor Brandon Scott on Tuesday announced the investment, which the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement will disburse over three years. The agency will fund community-focused organizations working across violence reduction practices, including street outreach and intervention, youth and victims services, and re-entry services. The money will also support a new initiative to ease re-entry and provide wraparound services for some 3,000 people leaving incarceration. Related from The Trace: Scott won the mayoralty in part by pledging to take a public health approach to reducing gun violence and leaning heavily on community-led efforts — though political headwinds and the city’s still high homicide count have challenged the young mayor’s plans.

Judge in Kyle Rittenhouse trial says people he fatally shot can be called “looters” or “rioters,” but not “victims.” Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is overseeing the trial of the 18-year-old who killed two men and injured a third during August 2020 protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, told attorneys that victims was a “loaded” term. Schroeder’s comments came during a hearing on Monday in which he laid out final ground rules for the trial that begins next week. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, and a minor in possession of a gun charge. He is expected to claim self-defense. 

Two men who allegedly planned “race war” could be sentenced as domestic terrorists. A federal judge said he would consider lengthening the prison terms of two suspects who were arrested days before a January 2020 gun rights rally in Virginia and allegedly planned to commit violence and foment racial strife. The men, both members of the white supremacist group The Base, pleaded guilty to federal gun and other charges. U.S. attorneys are asking that they each receive a 25-year sentence, far beyond the normal terms based on their guilty pleas; while there is no specific federal law against domestic terrorism, prosecutors often use the charge to increase punishments. Sentencing takes place tomorrow. 

Another person sues Sig Sauer over misfiring pistol. Plaintiff John Tyler Herman of Oklahoma filed suit in U.S. District Court, claiming his P320 fired “in the process of removing his holster” without him touching the trigger. It’s the latest in a string of legal actions against the gunmaker. The company has routinely denied liability in the cases, but in 2017 announced a “voluntary upgrade” for the P320 to remedy the risk that the guns may fire when dropped. (The suit and others like it have disputed that the upgrade was an adequate fix.)

Data Point

320 — the number of homicides in Los Angeles this year as of October 18, nearing last year’s decade-high of 355. Meanwhile, clearance rates are still below 2019 levels in many areas. [The Los Angeles Times]