Good morning, Bulletin readers. In part two of this week’s series on solutions to community gun violence, Midwest Correspondent Brian Freskos provides a deep dive on the campaign afoot in Chicago to slash homicides to a level not seen in decades. His dispatch leads your Thursday roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Inside the ambitious campaign to push Chicago homicides below 400. The private funders and outreach groups behind the “<399” plan are bringing unprecedented coordination to gun violence prevention in the city. But the organizers say they can’t hit their goal if the city and state government do not ramp up public spending. The clock is ticking: Shootings are down compared to 2018, but the city has still tallied more than 250 homicides this year. Brian Freskos interviewed three dozen people to bring you the story.
RELATED: Brooklyn leaders call for increase in anti-violence resources. Borough President Eric Adams was one of dozens advocating for a 20 percent funding increase for the city’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence. The money would cover more faith-based interventions, violence interrupters, and civilian patrols to quell a spike in shootings in one Brooklyn police district.
The NRA brought in more money in 2018, but not more members. Earlier this year, the gun group said that revenue from membership dues jumped 33 percent to $180 million in 2018. A new analysis from Bloomberg News finds that the uptick is partly because of increased fees to existing members, not a surge of new ones.
Another NRA board member says he’s been punished for speaking out. Duane Liptak, the executive vice president of Magpul, wrote on Facebook that he lost all but one committee assignments after landing on the National Rifle Association’s “naughty list.” Liptak joins board members Tiffany Johnson, Timothy Knight, and Esther Schneider, who say they also lost committee assignments over their calls for reform at the oganization following extensive reports of financial malfeasance.
Florida civil society groups raise alarm about a database meant to stop school shooters. In an open letter, 33 organizations warned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that a planned database that would flag students who have histories of bullying, foster care, or mental health or substance abuse would be discriminatory. The letter argued that the system “represents a significant safety risk because it collects highly sensitive information without a clear, evidence-based rationale for inclusion.”
Despite a string of recent suicides, Florida gun ranges resist prevention efforts. A man who shot himself at a Naples, Florida, shooting range became the third person in four months to kill himself at a gun range in the city. Yet an examination by the News-Press found that none of the 16 state gun ranges contacted for the article were using the free materials developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation. From the Archives: The Trace looked at what gun ranges can do to prevent suicides.
ONE LAST THING
A group for black gun owners considers getting more political. “Does law enforcement, or more importantly larger society, view black men with firearms in a certain way? Let’s have that discussion,” Philp Smith, the president and founder of the National African American Gun Association, told NPR. The organization is described as both a civil rights group and an alternative to the NRA for black gun owners. Smith says that membership spiked after President Trump took office. Increasingly, members are pushing to form a political action committee, with an eye to improving relations between black gun owners and the police.