What To Know Today
Scaled-back White House economic plan retains focus on community gun violence prevention. President Joe Biden announced a $1.75 trillion version of his Build Back Better legislation in hopes of propelling Congressional Democrats over the finish line. The reconciliation bill’s price tag has been cut nearly in half to assuage party moderates, and there’s still no guarantee that a final agreement will be reached or even what will be in the bill. But retaining a commitment to funding community-violence intervention — which the White House wants to total $5 billion and which is reflected in the latest House draft — was nonetheless a sign of relief for anti-violence groups. “We are pleased that funding for community-led gun violence prevention is included in the final framework for President Biden’s Build Back Better Act,” read an emailed statement from Fund Peace — a coalition of Black- and brown-led groups who have pushed for the funding. “We now call on Congress to approve the full $5B pledged to support community violence intervention across the country.”
NEW from THE TRACE: Can you ban yourself from buying guns? A reader asks, “How do you get a mentally ill relative’s name added to the NICS database to prevent a gun purchase, if they voluntarily request to be added?” The short of it: In most of the country, it’s not possible to opt yourself into the federal background check system. To be blocked from buying a gun on the basis of mental health, an individual must be deemed mentally unfit by a judge or involuntarily committed to a mental health institution. However, residents of certain states have other options. In Utah, Virginia, and Washington, people in crisis can add themselves to a so-called “do not sell” list, which prevents them from buying firearms for a period of months or years. Jennifer Mascia has more. Have a burning question about gun violence? Ask us! Submit a question at this link, and if we think we can answer it, we may use it for a future article.
Families of nine people killed in Charleston church massacre reach $88M settlement with the federal government. They sued the Justice Department because errors and gaps in the background check process that allowed the white supremacist shooter to purchase a gun even though he was legally prohibited from doing so. The Justice Department on Thursday said it had agreed to settle the civil case and would pay out between $6 million and $7.5 million to families of those killed, along with $5 million each to survivor. Bakari Sellers, a lawyer who helped broker the agreement, said the total settlement figure was an intentional nod to the number 88 as a symbol for white supremacist groups. “We’ve given a big ‘F you’ to white supremacy and racism,” Sellers told the Associated Press. “We’re doing that by building generational wealth in these Black communities, from one of the most horrific race crimes in the country.”
The gun permit denials that led to the biggest SCOTUS gun case in more than a decade. Reuters spoke to the New York State judge whose denial of unrestricted concealed carry licenses to two county gun owners led to a challenge in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen. New York’s “may issue” permitting system requires people applying for handgun licenses to demonstrate a specific, pressing need to carry concealed firearms. The judge allowed Robert Nash and Brandon Koch to carry their guns for hunting and other outdoor activities, but stopped short of giving them licenses to carry broadly. “It’s a law that was intended to grant broad discretion to the local licensing officers, and that takes into consideration geography and other factors,” Justice Richard McNally Jr. told Reuters. “I’m not anti-gun and never have been.
~65 percent — the share of applicants who received unrestricted concealed-carry licenses statewide in New York in 2018 and 2019, according to the New York attorney general. [Reuters]