What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: What Senate Democrats say they can (maybe) get done on gun reform. For starters: The party can now bring gun safety bills up for a vote, something former GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to do. It’s also nine votes short of the 60-vote supermajority needed to overcome the filibuster, which may not be going away anytime soon. Still, key Senate Democrats tell The Trace that a lot has changed since an expanded background check measure failed after Sandy Hook — and they’re banking on shifting dynamics that can make it politically risky for swing-state Republicans to oppose gun reforms that are popular with wide swaths of voters. Jennifer Mascia has the breakdown

The preferred caffeine source of the heavily armed. Mother Jones reports on Black Rifle Coffee Company, known for firearms-laden marketing that’s found a following among some gun enthusiasts and frequenters of extremist websites. The 17-year-old Kenosha shooter, as well as a man arrested for his role in the Capitol attack, have been photographed wearing the company’s merchandise. “I think it’s evident that Black Rifle has done a good job homing in on and focusing on a certain group of customers,” said one marketing expert.

“Becoming too closely aligned with militias — is that a bad thing?” Ryan Kelley is a Republican official in Michigan featured in an eye-opening New York Times report documenting the direct ties between state and local Republicans and armed extremist groups. Last April, Kelley led a demonstration against Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions that prefigured months of armed protests across the country. Last week, he announced that he was launching a bid for governor. Kelley doesn’t see his militia affiliations impeding his aspirations for higher office, and the article shows he’s not alone. “It is like the Republican Party has its own domestic army,” said Jeff Timmer, a former executive director of the Michigan GOP and a critic of former President Donald Trump.

New evidence that a popular online gun marketplace is a haven for buyers banned from owning firearms. Between 2018 and 2020, Everytown for Gun Safety placed undercover ads on Armslist, which connects sellers with shoppers looking for anything from a pistol to an AR-15. The organization ran background checks on respondents and found that one in nine was prohibited from legally purchasing firearms. According to the investigation, each of the last three years saw an average of 1.2 million online ads offering guns for sale that would not require a completed background check. [Everytown’s nonpolitical arm provides funding to The Trace. Here is a list of our major donors and our policy on editorial independence]. Related: Last year, the family of a slain Chicago police officer, killed with a gun bought on Armslist, sued the company and cited our investigation of unlicensed sellers who do steady business on the site, potentially in violation of federal law. 

A shooting at a Minnesota health clinic left one person dead and four injured. The incident occurred yesterday morning in the small city of Buffalo, about 40 miles northwest of Minneapolis. Police said they detained a man who had been well known to authorities. “There is a history of him being unhappy with health care — with the health care he received,” said the local police chief. Three of the wounded were in stable condition; a fourth victim was treated and released.

Data Point

1 in 59 — the odds of being shot in a Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood with elevated levels of gun violence, according to an assessment probing the local effects of the national surge in shootings. [The Columbus Dispatch]