What To Know Today
Steve Dettelbach sworn in as ATF Director. “This agency and its aims are challenged as never before,” he said during his swearing in ceremony on Tuesday, adding that he was determined to fight “rising crime, rising firearm violence, rising mass shooting incidents, and a rising tide of extremist violence that threatens people and safety in this nation.” Appearing on CBS Evening News yesterday evening, Dettelbach added that “the reason that we’re having a hard time coming up with one solution is because there is no one solution. The solutions are different, based upon where things are.” He added that his primary mission at ATF was to help “catch people who have violated the laws we already have.”
Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis shows no signs of slowing. The city reached a grim milestone after recording the 300th homicide of the year. That comes after a particularly violent July in which 43 people died. This year’s homicide total is running on pace with last year, when police reported 562 homicides — the highest in decades. Not all bad news: As grim as the homicide trend is in Philadelphia and other major cities like Milwaukee (41 percent), New Orleans (40 percent), Dallas (17 percent), other places have seen year-to-date drops including Miami (36 percent), Cleveland (22 percent), and Oakland (19 percent), according to data compiled by criminologist Jeff Asher. He observed a 3 percent overall drop in homicides in the most recently available data from 91 cities. Still, such year-to-date comparisons fluctuate throughout the year depending on the day or month, and there’s no guarantee the trends will hold. Know someone in Philly who’s been affected by gun violence? See our Up the Block resource hub.
House Democrats eye assault weapons ban — if they can get the votes. Party leadership wants a vote on a bill and believe they can wrangle enough votes. But a handful of Democrats, including some from rural districts, are skeptical of voting on such a bill ahead of midterm elections — particularly since the measure has no chance of passing the narrowly divided Senate. In the meantime, the House Judiciary Committee will start marking up the measure today.
The Aurora movie theater shooting, 10 years on. On July 20, 2012, a man killed 12 people in the Colorado city during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Marcus Weaver lived through the shooting, and in 2015 told Trace contributor Kate Masters what it has felt like for him to watch history grimly repeat itself in a subsequent shooting at a Louisiana theater. Also in 2015, we reported on the small but growing group of American children enduring the “particularly difficult struggle” of losing a parent to a mass shooting, which focused on Hailey and Maximus Bunk and the loss of their father Jonathan at Aurora.
Gun control initiative makes it on the ballot in Oregon this fall. Initiative Petition 17 would ban magazines containing more than 10 rounds, mandate a permit for gun purchases, and collect some data on the permits that the Oregon State Police would publish in a yearly report. The Secretary of State’s Office this week verified a minimum of necessary signatures for the initiative to make it onto the ballot.
Crew member for “Law & Order: Organized Crime” was fatally shot in New York City. Police said 31-year-old Johnny Pizarro was killed in his car when an unknown assailant walked up and shot him in broad daylight. The victim was enforcing parking restrictions on a block in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, before filming for the true-crime series began. “No words,” the victim’s father told The New York Times. “This thing is a tragedy.”
8 of 10 — the share of states (plus D.C.) that went for Donald Trump in the 2020 election that also have the nation’s highest gun death rates. Andrew Morral, a researcher at the Rand Corporation, called the chart of all 50 states “a remarkable association between state party preference and firearm death rates.” [Scientific American]