The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, or CSPOA, espouses an ideology that contradicts the way American governance works: The far-right organization posits that elected sheriffs can refuse to enforce any law they deem unconstitutional or “unjust.” The sheriffs group was founded by Richard Mack, a darling of the gun rights movement and onetime board member of the Oath Keepers militia, and recently, it’s been picking up steam — by providing state-approved, taxpayer-funded training on its beliefs to law enforcement officers.
A months-long investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the sheriffs group has hosted trainings and other events for law enforcement officers, political figures, private organizations, and members of the public in at least 30 states over the past five years. In six of those states, the CSPOA’s officer training was approved for continuing education credit.
The CSPOA has long been animated by gun rights — you can see its influence among sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun reforms — but after the Capitol insurrection, the organization’s ideological ascent takes on a darker tone. Mary McCord, a law professor at Georgetown and former federal prosecutor, told the Howard Center and AZICR that the sheriffs group is “essentially part of a broader movement in the United States to think it’s OK to use political violence if we disagree with some sort of government policy.”
What to Know Today
Minutes after the Tennessee House officially began its special session on public safety, lawmakers broke into heated debate over new disciplinary rules, adopted by the lower chamber’s GOP majority, that block members from speaking if they cause a disruption or “impugn the reputation” of a colleague. Republicans framed the new rules as a response to their expulsion of two Democratic lawmakers who participated in a gun violence protest on the House floor during the regular session. [The Tennessean]
The race for Indianapolis mayor is shaping up to be one of the most interesting in the country: Democratic incumbent Joe Hogsett is up against Republican and former NRA ally Jefferson Shreve, whose public safety plan includes gun reforms like banning assault weapons, raising the age for firearm purchases, and ending permitless carry. Could Shreve’s policy turn presage a shift in the GOP’s relationship with the NRA? [Politico] Context: Shreve’s public safety plan essentially mirrors that of his opponent — and both would defy Indiana’s “preemption” law.
Gun deaths among American kids reached a record high in 2021, according to a new analysis of CDC data, marking the second consecutive year in which firearm-related injuries were the leading cause of death among children and adolescents. [NBC]
Philadelphia housing activists are calling for an end to the city’s for-profit landlord-tenant eviction system, following a string of high-profile shootings by the private deputies contracted to carry out evictions. The city Landlord and Tenant Office halted evictions last month, and was scheduled to resume them this week. [WHYY]
D.C.’s extreme risk protection order law has resulted in few gun seizures since it was passed in 2018. City officials contend that part of the problem is low public awareness of how it works: For instance, the District’s law includes a provision granting immunity to people with illegal guns if they agree to give the weapons up. [The Washington Post] Context: Research indicates that public knowledge of and attitudes toward extreme risk protection order laws, sometimes called “red flag” laws, is crucial to how effective and expansive they are.
Baltimore is paying out settlements for victims of police misaction more frequently this year, and the median dollar amount of settlements is up more than $170,000 compared with the same period in 2022. The lawsuits range from cases of excessive force to being struck by police vehicles responding to emergency calls. [The Baltimore Banner]
4,752 — the number of American children who died of gun-related injuries in 2021. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths were homicides. [NBC]