WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Anger deepens in Philadelphia as governor signs disaster proclamation. After two nights of demonstrations and violent unrest over the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., city officials enacted an overnight curfew and the Pennsylvania National Guard is set to arrive Friday morning. Wallace was reportedly suffering from a mental crisis when his family says they called for an ambulance. Police showed up instead, and officers fatally shot the 27-year-old. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she would release body cam footage of the fatal shooting after Wallace’s family sees it. She also said she wants the department to have a specialized mental health unit and for all officers to carry Tasers. “The question becomes, who polices the police?” The answer from Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr: “We the people should.” Speaking at a Wednesday news conference, he joined other city officials in calling on law enforcement to adopt more de-escalation tactics and for the city’s emergency response to include access to mental health services. A tale of two reactions: Both Joe Biden and President Trump decried looting and violence amid protests, but Biden has condemned Wallace’s death while the president has largely kept his focus on the shooting’s aftermath.
Public health, legal experts call for expansion of “red flag laws.” The Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a gun reform advocacy group, is calling for improvements to the laws — sometimes called emergency risk protection orders (ERPOs) — that allow courts to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a high risk for committing violence. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., currently have ERPO statutes. Family members or law enforcement officers typically petition for ERPOs, but the report calls for states to expand that list to include licensed healthcare providers. It also asks for improved data collection on petitioners and the subjects of orders — in part to ensure the laws don’t exacerbate racial inequalities. “An effective way to prevent firearm suicide.” In a Washington Post op-ed, Paul Nestadt — co-director of the Johns Hopkins Anxiety Disorders Clinic — echoed the report’s recommendations, saying that Maryland’s ERPO law has helped him protect his patients. So far, evidence is strongest for the ability of ERPOs to prevent suicides, but there’s also promising data on their ability to stop mass shootings.
Armed groups in Virginia try a new tack: Seeking blessings from local government. At least three rural counties have approved resolutions endorsing local militias. Even more have considered such a move, according to The New York Times. The Virginia Constitution authorizes a “well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms,” and proponents of the county-level resolutions say local government’s endorsement would give militias a right to exist. But the power to authorize them lies with the state government, not local governments or private groups, legal experts say. The efforts to empower county militias come as more than 90 counties and cities in Virginia have passed so-called Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in response to new gun regulations. — Chip Brownlee, investigative fellow.
Michigan appeals to reinstate Election Day ban on guns. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel moved to overturn a state judge’s ruling on Tuesday that Benson overstepped her legal authority when issuing an October 16 rule temporarily banning firearms at all polling places. The judge granted an injunction to a coalition of gun rights groups who had sued.
10 percent — how many of the 25,000 members of the far-right Oath Keepers from a leaked database are said to be active military or law enforcement. The leader of the group said members of his group would “protect” Trump voters on Election Day. — The Atlantic