Good morning, Bulletin readers. How do communities experience gun violence, and how can they heal? Those are questions we set out to address with our new partnership on gun violence in a city that’s seen far too much of it. That package kicks off your Tuesday roundup.
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NEW FROM THE TRACE
Introducing FIRSTHAND: Gun Violence in Chicago. We partnered with WTTW, the city’s PBS station, to explore some of the overlooked ways that people experience gun violence. The multimedia package includes a documentary series profiling five Chicagoans as they struggle to secure support for childhood trauma, confront housing insecurity that exposes them to the risk of getting shot, work together for prison reforms that can better rehabilitate juvenile offenders, and turn to gun ownership for the security they feel city officials are failing to provide.
To complement WTTW’s films, reporters for The Trace dug into the related issues — and what Chicago is doing about them. As we launch the project today, we hope you’ll make time for two of those stories in particular:
- Sarah Ryley scored an important scoop when analyzing Chicago police records on arrests in white and nonwhite areas. She found that in the same neighborhoods where the vast majorities of shooters go free, low-level drug arrests are almost constant.
- Brian Freskos took a hard look at the anti-violence agenda of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has said combating gun violence is her highest priority. His reporting underscores the tough choices facing her administration as she tries to make good on her promises.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Lots of California cops who abuse their partners get to keep their guns. A coalition of news organizations analyzed more than 600 domestic abuse convictions involving police officers. They found that 38 percent of defendants pleaded guilty to lesser offenses, like disturbing the peace, which don’t trigger the federal domestic violence gun ban. Some 15 percent are still employed as police officers. In more than a dozen individual cases, judges provided a special exemption so officers could keep their guns.
Bernie Sanders said mandatory gun buybacks are “unconstitutional.” At a town hall in Iowa on Sunday, the 2020 Democratic candidate said mandatory assault weapons buybacks are “essentially confiscation.” Sanders and the rest of the 2020 field is largely united on enacting comprehensive federal gun reform. But after former candidate Beto O’Rourke made mandatory buybacks a major plank of his campaign, several have distanced themselves from that position. Get caught up on where the Democratic candidates stand on gun policy with our handy guide.
At least one more major donor has abandoned the NRA. The Associated Press spoke to Joe Olson, who said he eliminated a several-million dollar bequest from his will: “The rot had gotten worse and I simply decided: No, I’m not giving those people my money,” he told the wire service. His decision comes amid a months-long campaign by National Rifle Association donor David Dell’aquila to force leadership changes at the scandal-rocked organization by starving it of funding.
Amnesty International will hold a hearing on American gun violence. The human rights organization’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will examine how our country’s gun violence affects the Organization of American States member countries. “[It] has become so prevalent that it amounts to a human rights crisis,” said the campaign manager of the group’s End Gun Violence campaign.
A teen anti-violence march near St. Louis was interrupted by a gun threat. The young activists were rallying against child shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday when someone pulled out a gun during an altercation. “This is what we are trying to fight against,” said Skylar Robinson, 17, who led the demonstration.
The son of an anti-violence activist in Milwaukee was fatally shot. Darnell Woodard II, 21, was killed while sitting in a car Sunday night. His mother, Camille Mays, founded Peace Garden Project MKE, which provides permanent memorials for the city’s crime victims. “I do this every day,” Mays said. “I tried to stop it from coming to my door, from touching my family, but it didn’t.”
There have been at least 364 mass shootings (4+ people shot) in the United States this year, putting the country on pace for 420 mass shootings by the end of the year — which would be the highest annual total since Gun Violence Archive began collecting the data in 2014. —Gun Violence Archive