What To Know This Week
Young Black activists press Biden: Fund community violence prevention. The president traveled to Milwaukee for a CNN town hall last night, his first official trip outside Washington since his inauguration. Ahead of his visit, the activist groups 50 Miles More, March For Our Lives, and Guns Down America organized a video message featuring young people of color from the city who urged the new administration to prioritize funding for gun violence interventions that don’t depend on policing. “I’m only 16 years old but I realize gun violence is affecting me. It’s affecting people that look like me. It’s affecting my communities,” one young woman says in the spot. 2020 was Milwaukee’s worst-ever year for homicides.
To curb soaring gun violence in Philly, the city’s DA is calling for $100 million in community investment. Larry Krasner, who has sought to reduce incarceration and curb punishments for low-level offenders (including for gun charges), is running for re-election in a city that just saw its worst year for gun violence since the early 1990s. “What you are seeing with this spike in gun violence is exactly what happens when a pandemic strips away all of these important protective programs… that have been reducing violence in their own way for years,” Krasner told local PBS station WHYY.
Study of school shootings suggests armed guards don’t reduce fatalities. In fact, academics with The Violence Project found that campus gun rampages ended with three times as many people killed when armed guards were present. (Only 23 percent of the 133 incidents the researchers looked at occurred at a school with armed security, so the sample size was small.) The only variable associated with higher fatalities: When the perpetrator used an assault rifle. Related: Past research has raised serious doubts about whether armed guards actually deter school attacks, while reporting has shown how the influx of armed security guards in American schools after Columbine fell particularly hard on Black students.
The federal trustee overseeing the NRA’s bankruptcy has requested the removal of the gun group’s outside law firm. In a filing, the trustee argued that Brewer Attorneys & Counselors is “deeply entangled in numerous disputes at the core of the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy,” noting that alleged “billing improprieties” by the firm are at issue in the New York attorney general’s case against the gun group — the case that by the NRA’s own admission prompted its Chapter 11 claim. The trustee goes on to point out that Brewer’s firm failed to disclose to the court that its conduct is under scrutiny in the New York case, as well as in others in which it has represented the NRA. In several of those cases, the trustee argues, the interests of the firm and the NRA are at odds. William Brewer, the firm’s namesake counsel, has been a top NRA strategist since 2018 and his influence over NRA boss Wayne LaPierre is the subject of controversy. On February 24, a judge is scheduled to hear the trustee’s objection to the firm continuing to represent the NRA in its bankruptcy case. — Will Van Sant, staff writer
New Jersey asks judge help to enforce a subpoena against Smith & Wesson over deceptive advertising. The request by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to obtain a trove of marketing documents follows an investigation the state launched last fall. Grewal’s goal, according to court documents, is to substantiate preliminary findings that certain advertisements by the gunmaker “may misrepresent the impact owning a firearm has on personal safety and/or safety in the home.” Smith & Wesson has gone to federal court to quash the subpoena outright. New Jersey’s case is the latest to try to hold gun manufacturers accountable for alleged marketing misdeeds. And it’s the second setback for Smith & Wesson in a week: A Canadian court ruled that victims of a 2018 mass shooting in Toronto could proceed with their liability suit. — Champe Barton, reporter
$95,000 — the combined value of a statue and painting of former NRA president Charlton Heston, which the gun group listed among its $245 million in assets in a bankruptcy filing. [The Washington Free Beacon]