What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: The many ways domestic violence foreshadows mass shootings. Perpetrators of some of the country’s deadliest shootings have had domestic violence charges, incidents, or allegations in their backgrounds. That includes the man who killed 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016; the teenage perpetrator of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and most recently, the shooter at a railyard in San Jose, California. The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia breaks down all the ways domestic and mass shootings intersect — and what can be done to break the connection. Said one expert: “We know that past violence is the best predictor of future violence, and often that past violence is domestic violence.” You can read that story here.
NEW from THE TRACE: Legislators call for ATF crackdown on problem gun dealers. Following our investigation with USA TODAY, lawmakers are urging the agency to take a tougher line on sellers who break federal regulations. When New York’s state Legislature took up a bill to increase regulation of gun dealers last week, author Senator Zellnor Myrie praised what he called our “explosive report” and said enforcement failures by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives meant that the gun industry “has been immunized from coming to court.” U.S. Representative Joe Morelle, a Democrat from upstate New York who has authored legislation to bolster regulations on gun dealers, vowed to push for more budget increases to help the ATF conduct inspections on a consistent basis. But he also said our investigation showed him there were systemic issues within the bureau that couldn’t be solved by money alone. You can read that follow-up here, also in partnership with USA TODAY.
Senators release first congressional report on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Based on more than 50 statements from Capitol Police officers, the bipartisan report paints an alarming timeline of missed warnings. In early January, top intelligence officers within the Capitol Police described the possibility of civil disturbance as “remote” to “improbable.” However, as the new report highlights, that same intelligence arm had been aware of people planning to attend and foment violence as early as December 2020, when the department found far-right chat rooms teeming with talk about attacking the Capitol. “Bring guns. It’s now or never,” one blog comment read. Among 20 recommendations, the Senate report calls for more training and a single intelligence bureau within the Capitol Police. “The attack was quite frankly planned in plain sight,” said Democratic Senator Gary Peters, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The 127-page report comes less than two weeks after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to create an independent probe into the insurrection.
Philly’s City Council wants $100 million to combat gun violence. In a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney, 13 of the Council’s 17 members said they want the city’s next budget to “go further” than his prior $34 million pledge toward community-led public safety by investing more in grassroots anti-violence groups; mental and behavioral health services; job opportunities for at-risk residents; and safe havens for young people. The letter points out that more than 800 youth have been shot since January 2020, adding that “such unprecedented violence demands an unprecedented response.” Yesterday, a Philadelphia teacher presented to the Council testimonies from 33 kids about the gun violence around them. “I think I’ve gotten used to it,” a ninth-grader wrote. “I’ve grown into dangerous hoods to the point where I could sleep through gunshots.”
Biden’s DOJ has ramped up police oversight. Minnesota Dems want to expand its probe in Minneapolis. U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar and nearly two dozen state officials asked the department to broaden its civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department, which launched on the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. The request would have the Justice Department also examine the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (a sort of state-level FBI), the Minnesota State Patrol, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and surrounding police departments including the one in Brooklyn Center, where an officer in April fatally shot 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright just 10 miles away from then-ongoing the Derek Chauvin trial. Omar’s letter points to Chauvin as a reason to expand the probe beyond a single department: “Recent years of similar law enforcement actions in Minnesota show that the murder of Mr. Floyd is not unique — it is a pattern among many Minnesota law enforcement agencies.”
$84 million — the amount of debt, dating back to the early 1990s, that will be erased for families whose children incurred fines and fees from juvenile court proceedings in Macomb County, Michigan. Previously, families were asked to reimburse the state for detention, housing in residential facilities, court-appointed attorney costs, and probation related to their children. [Associated Press]