What To Know Today

Citing inaction, advocacy groups urge Biden to launch an executive office for gun violence prevention. In an open letter, a coalition of gun reform groups slammed the steps taken by the president to reduce gun violence for falling ”significantly short of the promises you yourself made” and urged him to create a new executive office to coordinate gun violence prevention. The groups — March For Our Lives, Guns Down America, Newtown Action Alliance, and Survivors Empowered — also called on Biden to save the beleaguered nomination of David Chipman to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and launch a more forceful legislative strategy for gun reform. “With rising gun deaths and the heightened threat of armed political extremism, gun violence can no longer be seen as a back burner issue,” the letter reads. 

Portland, Oregon, protests are among nation’s most violent, destructive. Since last year, the city has seen an especially combustible mix of violent demonstrations and armed extremism. The Guardian reports on the situation, which after a relative lull escalated again last weekend with a far-right rally that ended in gunfire. The news outlet points to new data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project: In Portland, some 128 demonstrations between January 2020 through July 2021 ended in violence or destruction, or 31 percent of all demonstrations. That’s 10 times higher than the national average of demonstrations turning violent. Twenty-one of the protests in Portland included armed participants, 14 of which turned violent. 

Capitol Police officers sue militia groups, Trump over insurrection violence. The civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, targets a number of extremist organizations — including the leaders and members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers — as well as the former president. In part, the suit says the defendants violated the federal Ku Klux Klan Act, a Reconstruction-era statute designed to prevent violent conspiracies from interfering with Congress’s constitutional duties. Several of the nearly 20 defendants named in the suit are also facing related federal criminal probes. “We don’t want something like this [the Capitol riot] happening ever again,” one of the plaintiffs, a Capitol Police officer, told USA Today.

North Carolina could soon track when officers fatally shoot people. A bill, passed almost unanimously by the state Legislature, would create new databases tracking officer use of force and disciplinary problems. The records would be kept from the public, but available to state boards that can revoke officers’ accreditation. Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill. What the governor is expected to veto: A law, passed along party lines in the GOP-controlled statehouse, that would scrap the state’s “may issue” handgun permitting system, which gives local authorities discretion over issuing licenses. While the bill is largely favored by Republicans, it’s also drawn the support of local left-wing gun rights groups, who argued in an open letter to the governor that the current permitting process is a Jim Crow relic that stifles minority gun ownership.  

Shooting near Illinois courthouse leaves two men dead. A third was wounded in the Thursday morning incident in Kankakee, about 60 miles south of Chicago. Law enforcement officials said they had apprehended two suspects and multiple weapons at the scene, including a long gun. The two men killed were both in their 20s. “It’s a tragic event for the people of the City of Kankakee,” the local police chief said. “We are going to do our best to solve it.”

Data Point

34 percent — the clearance rate for murders in Louisville, Kentucky, a city that could break its annual homicide record for the second straight year. Three years ago, the city had a 61 percent clearance rate for murders, roughly the same as the most recent FBI national estimate. [NBC News]