Receive this daily news briefing by email every morning. Sign up here.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Heavily armed protesters enter Michigan’s Capitol during rally against coronavirus closures. As the state’s Republican-led Legislature debated extending Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, hundreds of demonstrators
thronged the legislative building in Lansing, some of them carrying assault-style rifles. Signs and banners are banned in the Capitol to protect its historic architecture, but firearms are allowed. “Some of my colleagues who own bullet-proof vests are wearing them. I have never appreciated our Sergeants-at-Arms more than today,” a state senator tweeted. Whitmer ultimately decided to extend a modified shut-down order without lawmaker’s support. ICYMI: One scholar observed this week that the reason some shutdown protesters are coming armed is clear: “Because guns are intimidating.”
An NRA board member stoked protest against his state’s stay-at-home order. Anthony Colandro, a firearms instructor from New Jersey, encouraged followers to attend a rally against social distancing in Trenton and called the “plandemic” a hoax in an April 27 Facebook post flagged by Media Matters. “They can’t arrest all of us,” he wrote. Colandro has a history of controversy: In January, The Informant unearthed a trove of tweets in which he decried Muslims and used homophobic language.
More evidence that gun violence has increased during the coronavirus. Yesterday, The Trace reported on data showing that shootings have been the exception to the decline in crime recorded during the coronavirus crisis. Nationally, gun deaths are up 6 percent over typical levels, and in the nine major cities that make timely weapons data available, gun violence had outpaced other types of offenses. Meanwhile, local news outlets are flagging other increases in shootings:
- In Cincinnati, homicides are running more than twice as high in 2020 than they did last year, and at least 57 people have been shot since Ohio’s shutdown order went into effect on March 25 — more than double the same period as last year. The majority of those incidents have been concentrated in four neighborhoods, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
- In Louisville, shootings are up 82 percent from last year. “The people that are out there engaging in this violence don’t seem to care about the risks of the virus,” the city’s police chief said.
Virus tears through New York City facility home to gunshot survivors. More than 70 patients at Coler Hospital on Roosevelt Island have tested positive for COVID-19, Mother Jones reports. Many of their families feel shut out by the city agency that runs the facility. “Part of the perception among the residents is that because they are predominantly people of color — many of them young, mostly Latino and African-American men who ended up there as the result of gun violence — the administration really doesn’t care about them,” said the cousin of one longtime resident. Know their stories: Last October, The Trace profiled some of those gunshot survivors, who formed an artists’ collective and forged new identities through poetry, music, and design.
Prominent neo-Nazi sentenced on gun charges. Aiden Bruce-Umbaugh, an alleged member of the Atomwaffen Division hate group, received 30 months in federal prison for possessing guns and marijuana in Texas. Last year, a judge in Washington State had ordered his guns seized under that state’s red flag law. Active drug users are prohibited from owning guns under federal law, and prosecutors have nabbed several suspected white supremacists on that charge in recent years.
High-profile murder suspect searched for ghost guns online. Nancy Crampton Brophy, an Oregon writer accused of fatally shooting her husband, learned how to make the murder weapon untraceable by researching ghost guns on the internet, prosecutors allege. In 2011, Brophy penned an essay titled “How to Murder Your Husband.”
Predicting SCOTUS’s next gun case. The high court on Monday dismissed a challenge against a New York City gun regulation. Today, the justices will weigh whether to take up 10 other gun-related cases; the votes of four justices are needed to hear a case. City and State polled legal experts who found common themes among the disputes that could move forward: the constitutionality of state bans on assault-style weapons and the constitutionality of restrictions on carrying handguns in public.
The week after its stay-at-home order took effect, Philadelphia recorded 40 shooting incidents — nearly twice what it typically sees during that period. — The Trace