What To Know Today

What is the conversation about gun violence in Chicago missing? Justin Agrelo, our Chicago-based community engagement reporter, wants to know as he seeks to learn how we can center Chicagoans most affected by shootings and the surrounding criminal justice issues in every step of our coverage. See more in his introductory post on the topic here — and tell us what you think by filling out this form. Please share it widely — with your friends, family, social media followers, and anyone else you know that is committed to making Chicago a safer place for everyone.

Albuquerque Police detain man in the slaying of Muslim men. The suspect, a 51-year old resident who is himself Muslim, was arrested on Tuesday. Police said they found several guns in the suspect’s home and car and planned to charge him in the fatal shootings of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, which occurred in the last two weeks. Police also said the man was a suspect in the fatal shootings of a man last November and 25-year-old Naeem Hussain last Friday, who was killed after attending a vigil for the others. “Tonight the Muslim community will sleep in peace,” Tahir Gauba, a director of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told The New York Times, noting how difficult the last two weeks had been for the community. Police said the killings were linked to a personal dispute — possibly that the suspect, a Sunni Muslim, was upset about a marriage to a Shiite. Police also noted that the suspect had previously faced several domestic violence charges that were later dismissed.

California Legislature advances bill to let Medicaid reimburse community violence intervention services. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill allowing community violence prevention programs and recovery services, like hospital-based violence intervention, to be a covered benefit under the state’s Medicaid program. As we reported last August, Connecticut and Illinois have laws making their state Medicaid agencies cover the costs of HVIPs for beneficiaries. Though a promising violence intervention tool, HVIPs have had to scrape by on private support and inconsistent government funding, putting their long-term viability in jeopardy. “Imagine a hospital is running a cardiac-cath lab, but it doesn’t have a guarantee for more than two years. You’re constantly wondering if you’re going to be able to take care of heart attacks or not,” Kyle Fischer, policy director at the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, an association of HVIP programs, told us last year. “It’s no way to run a service.”

In court, Biden administration defends federal gun ban for marijuana users. In April, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for governor whose office oversees concealed carry permits, sued the Biden administration over the federal marijuana gun ban. Medical marijuana is legal in Florida and 36 other states, and Fried argued in part that the federal policy violates the gun rights of medical marijuana users. (Fried later filed a revised suit after the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, arguing that case made the federal marijuana gun ban even more suspect.) This week, DOJ lawyers responded in a motion to dismiss, arguing that that courts have “uniformly upheld” such bans, and that data and legislatures had held that there was a strong link between drug use and violence. The government also repeatedly pointed to the historical tradition of such bans, a nod to the new test the Supreme Court adopted in Bruen to evaluate the constitutionality of gun laws. 

Another New York county is requiring gun dealers to post warning signs about firearms. On Monday, Albany County passed an ordinance that evokes cigarette warning labels, requiring a posting that reads: “Access to a weapon or firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic disputes and unintentional deaths to children, household members and others. If you or a loved one is experiencing distress and/or depression, call the crisis prevention and response team at (914) 925-5959 or the National Suicide Hotline at 988.” The ordinance is similar to one Westchester County passed earlier this summer.

Data Point

More than 1,200 — as of last night, the number of times “lock and load” — the most popular online user comment responding to the news of the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago — was upvoted on the pro-Trump, Reddit-like forum TheDonald. “When does the shooting start?” one user asked, while another — identified as a January 6th rioter awaiting sentencing for attacking the U.S. Capitol — asked, “Are we not in a cold civil war at this point?” [NBC News]