What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Biden’s pistol brace rule would put pressure on an already strained ATF division. In June, three months after the popular gun accessory was used in a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives proposed rules that would bring stabilizing braces under the purview of the National Firearms Act. If the rules come into force, gun owners seeking to attach a stabilizing brace to their pistol would have to obtain approval from the ATF’s NFA Division. That process can stretch more than a year and includes extensive vetting and a $200 tax. With millions of stabilizing braces estimated to be in circulation, some observers warn that efforts to restrict them could flounder if federal regulators are unable to handle the workload. “ATF’s been so poorly funded and resourced over the decades that it doesn’t have the people it needs,” a former special agent tells Jennifer Mascia and Alain Stephens.

“We don’t have good evidence on prevention, because we don’t research prevention.” In another must-read interview with Greg Berman of the Henry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Caterina Roman, a professor of criminal justice at Temple University, discusses violence reduction, public safety, and the alarming rise in violence. One key takeaway on the difficulty of crime reduction? We’re not evaluating a lot of what could be effective — so leaders are biased toward a narrow range of policy options:

  • “The truth is that we know very little about what works because we don’t test prevention. We don’t test prevention mechanisms like Pre-K. In Philadelphia, where I live, we have 4,000 more kids in Pre-K each year over the last couple of years. We don’t know if that’s going to reduce violence, because we’re not testing that. … Policing programs are relatively straightforward to evaluate: You get crime data, that’s really simple. What we’re not doing is funding the kinds of survey research that would give us evidence that legitimacy is increased, that moral cynicism is reduced, that more people are integrated with their neighborhoods.”

Advocacy group pushes the White House to clarify stimulus funding for trauma recovery, public health. As a part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Treasury Department released an interim rule on using the $350 billion available for local and state recovery funds for myriad public safety goals. The Alliance for Safety and Justice, which previously called the ARP an “unprecedented opportunity to transform our country’s response to violence,” released follow-up guidance asking Treasury’s final rule to include clarifications that would:

  • make it explicit that recovery funds can be used provide crime victims the assistance they need to recover from the violence and trauma associated with the pandemic, and provide eligible examples like housing, employment, and cash assistance
  • discourage funding for things that have historically undermined public health, like mass incarceration 

“It was my second shooting. So I was kind of prepared.” That was the harrowing response of 8-year-old Faris Nunn, who was interviewed after a baseball game at National Park in Washington, D.C, that was suspended when people were shot outside the stadium. “I didn’t know what was going on until I heard someone say get out, so I just started going under the seat,” said Nunn, who had attended the game with her family. She added, “I always am expecting something to happen.”

Spread the word: Our “Aftershocks” series is now available en Español. The Spanish-language versions of the pieces, which were reported in partnership with La Raza Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Block Club Chicago, can be found here. The project was led by Lakeidra Chavis, with data and graphics support from Daniel Nass. The English version can be found here.

Data Points

9 — the number of children shot in Philadelphia over the weekend. [KYW Newsradio reporter Kristen Johanson]

$242,000 — the total grant funding the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has given to community-led gun violence prevention programs since May. A third batch of grants was handed out this week, and all the money has come from civil asset forfeiture. [Philadelphia DAO]