What To Know Today

Biden in Buffalo: ‘White supremacy is a poison:’ Speaking to mourners, community members, and the press, the president urged Americans to reject the so-called great replacement theory proclaimed by the white supremacist suspect before his hate crime. “What happened here is simple and straightforward: Terrorism. Terrorism. Domestic terrorism,” Biden said. In separate remarks, Biden said he would need to convince Congress to pass more gun laws because he has little power to go beyond the more piecemeal steps his administration has taken — to the consternation of some gun reform groups. A mixed reaction from locals: “I want to see our community actually get help,” Toni Arrington, a 27-year-old hairstylist, told The New York Times. “I want to see people actually be protected. We work, we pay taxes, we pay for our protection, and we’re not getting it.” From the archives: The anger behind mass shootings. In 2016, former Trace reporter Alex Yablon reported on the common thread of angry men with histories of violence and easy access to guns.

U.S. gun makers built 187 percent more firearms in 2020 than two decades ago. That’s according to figures released in a new ATF report, the first comprehensive assessment of gun trafficking undertaken by the agency since 2000. The assessment was one of several steps the Biden administration announced on gun violence reduction last year. The first of four separate reports, the volume is a broad 20-year overview of firearms commerce, essential to the agency’s mission to “to help prevent diversion of these firearms from the legal to the illegal market,” wrote acting ATF Director Gary Restaino in the preface. Among many findings in the 306-page report:

  • A huge increase of U.S. gun making since 2000: The report found that licensed gun makers built 11.3 million guns in 2020, second only to 2016’s tally of 11.8 million and up from 3.9 million in 2000.
  • Large increases in U.S. gun manufacturer exports and weapons imports: Since 2000, gun exports have increased by 240 percent and imports by 350 percent.
  • An increasing number of DIY ghost guns at crime scenes: From 1,758 police recoveries in 2016 to 19,344 police recoveries in 2021.
  • While the pistol was the dominant gun manufactured and imported, the annual manufacture of short-barreled rifles increased by 24,080 percent since 2000.
  • A plea for more ATF personnel to inspect gun dealers: The agency has just 655 people in charge of regulating nearly 88,302 federal firearms licensees.

Further volumes of the ATF report are likely to prove more consequential by focusing on less well-documented issues like crime guns and trafficking networks.

Steve Dettelbach expected to get first Senate hearing next week. Dick Durbin, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Politico that his body would likely start proceedings on Biden’s second pick to lead the ATF sometime before the Senate goes on recess at the end of next week. After the Buffalo shooting, the outlet reports that the Biden administration is stepping up its behind-the-scenes efforts to confirm their pick, citing Dettelbach’s prosecutorial record in a number of hate crimes. 

Dallas PD arrest suspect linked to shooting at Asian-owned hair salon. The 36-year-old man was detained on Tuesday and is being held in connection to last week’s shooting that injured three women of Korean descent. The man’s girlfriend told police in the arrest-warrant affidavit that he had been admitted to several mental health facilities because of his delusions about Asian people and had been fired from a previous job for “verbally attacking” his Asian boss. Police said Friday that they were investigating the incident as a possible hate crime that could be connected to two recent Dallas shootings that also occurred at Asian-American businesses. 

Denver adopts ordinance banning concealed carry permit holders from bringing guns into city facilities or parks. The measures penalize violators with fines starting at $50, but give exceptions for police officers, guards, military personnel, and a handful of private citizens. Alongside gun rights opponents, some left-wing critics and one of the Democratic legislators opposed to the measure said she worried the enforcement of the ban in parks would lead to enhanced racial profiling by the police. An assistant city attorney said the police did not keep data on CCW permit holders committing crimes. The Denver ordinance was made possible by repeal of the state’s preemption law in June.

Data Point

2015 — the year when firearm homicides and non-firearm homicides started to diverge in earnest, according to RAND gun researcher Andrew Morral, who shared the following chart based on CDC data. [Andrew Morral]