Through his own life experiences, Haneef Hardy came up with the motto for Unlimited Potential, his Baltimore mentorship program: “Be who you needed when you were a kid.” The former teacher’s nonprofit focuses on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and arts to help young people discover their life goals, and offers “restorative circles” to help participants process the trauma of living around violence. [The Baltimore Banner]
National Rifle Association
The public knows the National Rifle Association primarily as a lobbying and campaign juggernaut. But in the eyes of the country’s federal tax agency, the gun group is a “social welfare organization” whose efforts to teach Americans how to handle firearms support the common good. A partner nonprofit, the NRA Foundation, awards grants to law enforcement, gun clubs, and school shooting programs. These less explicitly political activities have boosted the NRA brand and sustained its soft power apparatus, a diffuse network of NRA-tied entities that includes gun ranges, Boy Scouts Councils, and 4H Clubs.
But over the past few years, the group has spent less and less money on its original mission, downsizing the budget for these programs by 77 percent in less than a decade. The result? The NRA’s soft power apparatus is disappearing — at the same time that membership in the organization is dropping, too. The Trace’s Will Van Sant has the story, published in partnership with Rolling Stone.
What to Know Today
When did American gun culture begin to evolve into the dominating force it is today? The answer is elusive, thanks to a void in data, but recent research traces the start of the metamorphosis back to one particular year: 1949. [Vital City]
A novel and alarming type of violent extremism is gaining prominence in the U.S., according to law enforcement officials and political scientists. Deemed “grab-bag radicals,” these violent extremists — including actors like the Club Q mass shooter — tend to eschew firm creeds and instead pull from a hodgepodge of marginalized beliefs, no matter how divergent, to support their particular personal grievances. [Reuters]
In Indianapolis, homicides are up 85 percent compared to a decade and a half ago; most killings are carried out with guns. Accidental shootings, public school punishments over guns, and “road rage” shootings have grown in recent years, too, as state lawmakers continued to ease access to firearms. But the crisis goes beyond the numbers: Residents across the city experience grief, resilience, and fear in the wake of each shooting. [Indianapolis Star]
New House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, logged a win this week by passing a funding bill to avert a government shutdown. His conservative colleagues believe Johnson will help them win another of their priorities: Slashing the budget of the resource-deprived ATF and other federal law enforcement agencies. [Roll Call]
Barely two weeks after their city endured the deadliest mass shooting in Maine history, members of the Lewiston High School boys’ soccer team celebrated a state championship. Their victory was a salve after the violence — a soccer fairy tale showing that “amidst the dark, there is the good, the happily ever after, the saving of the day.” [NPR]
After authorities botched their response to an emergency call that preceded the July mass shooting in Philadelphia’s Kingsessing neighborhood, the Police Department ordered workers at its 911 call center to obtain more location details. But dispatchers, law enforcement brass, and residents say the emergency call unit is still in crisis, describing a unit that’s underpaid, understaffed, and losing workers at a worrying pace. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Kentucky state Senator Whitney Westerfield, a Republican, is backing legislation that would create a legal pathway to remove guns from people experiencing a mental health crisis, measures often referred to as extreme risk protection order laws. Westerfield plans to introduce the bill in the 2024 session, and has the support of a Democratic colleague. [Louisville Courier Journal]
1 in 6 — the proportion of gunshot victims in Baltimore who are 13 to 18 years old. [The Baltimore Banner]