After back-to-back weekends of shootings in a popular entertainment district in Columbus, Ohio, city officials are responding to the violence by enforcing a midnight curfew for teenagers, ramping up the area’s police presence, and asking businesses to close early. Columbus is currently in a court battle with Ohio over local control of gun regulations; the state doesn’t allow cities to enact their own firearm ordinances. [NPR/USA TODAY]
From Our Team
In May 2019, a 20-year-old Chicago resident was charged with possessing a weapon, a felony in Illinois. He thought his life was over — but the year before his arrest, Illinois had launched a five-year experimental program that allowed judges to assign young people who don’t have prior violent crime convictions to a special probation that, if completed successfully, would drop their charges. After spending two years pursuing his education and checking in with his probation officer, the Chicagoan finished the program, and all weapons possession charges were cleared from his record.
The program’s goal was to show that rehabilitation is more effective than incarceration in reducing gun violence. A significant number of judges have used the program since its inception, and now, Democratic state legislators are pushing to make the diversion program permanent and include people of all ages. Read more →
The 5th Circuit temporarily blocked the ATF from fully enforcing a new rule regulating guns equipped with pistol braces, a popular gun accessory used in recent mass shootings. The rule requires owners of pistol braces to either remove and destroy the accessories, or register them with the ATF and pay a tax by May 31.
The appeals court — which also struck down a federal ban on bump stocks and prohibitions on gun possession by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders — granted the injunction on Tuesday. The scope of the order, however, is likely to be limited, and the injunction probably won’t prevent the ATF from enforcing the rule nationally. Read more →
What to Know Today
Students who survived the mass shooting at Robb Elementary, which took place one year ago today, are excited about a new school security measure: a bulletproof whiteboard that can expand into a “safe room” adorned with decorations. They found out about it on TikTok. [Politico]
More than 1,700 gun-related bills have been introduced in state legislatures since the Uvalde shooting, 93 of which were signed into law. More than half loosened firearm restrictions or benefited the gun industry. [Axios]
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that will allow law enforcement, family members, and health care providers, among others, to petition courts to temporarily remove guns from people who could be dangerous. [Detroit Free Press] Context: Michigan is the 21st state to approve an extreme risk protection order law, commonly known as a “red flag” law. Find the other states with such laws on the books here.
The Pennsylvania House OK’d two gun reform bills that would create a red flag law in the state and expand background checks to include private purchases of long guns. House members voted down a third bill that would have required gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons to law enforcement within three days. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
The 9/11 attacks appeared to usher in an era of fear and ever-present danger in America. Two decades later, that still holds true — but the peril lies with the threat of mass shootings, not terrorism. [The New Republic]
The California Highway Patrol’s use-of-force rate tripled from 2019 to 2021, driven largely by troopers pointing guns at people more frequently. The increase in force comes even as the law enforcement agency has conducted fewer traffic stops overall. [San Francisco Chronicle]
The national 988 mental health hotline has seen a huge increase in use since it launched last July. But the lifeline may not be as “confidential” as advertised. [Mad in America]
In Uvalde, a Community Struggles for Reform Amid Grief: After the funerals, residents continue to pressure Texas officials to address gun access. It may become a fight that spans generations. (November 2022)