What To Know Today
Republicans are increasingly opposed to gun reform measures. That’s a key takeaway of a Morning Consult/Politico survey looking at Americans’ attitudes on firearms policy in the wake of mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado. Forty-two percent of Republican voters now support tighter gun reform laws, down from 54 percent in 2019 in the aftermath of two high-profile mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. Meanwhile, Democratic support ticked up two points to 93 percent. While a clear majority of Americans still support stricter gun laws, the number dropped slightly since 2019 (68 percent vs. 73 percent). When the question is phrased as a choice between Second Amendment rights and limits on gun ownership, a plurality (48 percent) of respondents now prioritize the former over the later, a five-point shift toward gun rights since 2019.
Reacting to the White House plan to set aside $5.3B for community violence prevention. Yesterday, a coalition of violence prevention activists succeeded in getting the administration to drastically increase its investment target in a new jobs plan. Thomas Abt, a former NYC prosecutor and Justice Department official whose ideas figured prominently into the Biden campaign’s then-smaller pledge to reduce community violence, was astounded. “I’m struggling to get my mind around how transformative an investment of this size could be, particularly if it’s directed to evidence-based strategies that are proven to work. It’s simply historic,” he said in a thread recapping the news. “I estimated that $899 million — properly spent — could save 12,132 lives over eight years. The new proposal is five times as big, so we could be looking at a much larger impact.” He added, “Let’s give credit where it’s due: this proposal is the direct result of advocacy by the Fund Peace movement — a coalition of Black and Brown-led organizations.”
City leaders start signaling violence reduction plans for the latest stimulus money. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus and COVID relief package. Advocates have hailed the immense resources available in the legislation for trauma services, violence prevention, mental health programs, and more. Yesterday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in her State of the City address that she planned to earmark $5 million to expand the city’s Cure Violence program, which deploys outreach workers to de-escalate street conflicts. “We need programs that stop people from picking up weapons to resolve conflicts,” she said.
16 Republican attorneys general support NRA’s bankruptcy move. They filed an amicus brief in Texas court yesterday, opposing New York Attorney General Letitia James’ motion to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s case or appoint a Chapter 11 trustee. “Given the history of politically motivated targeting of the NRA by New York government officials — its AG being the most notable among them — it isn’t surprising that New York is unwilling to roll over and allow the NRA to continue its advocacy elsewhere,” they write. James and other parties to the dispute allege that the gun group filed for bankruptcy in bad faith in order to evade a reckoning in New York over legal claims that James brought against the NRA in August. The allegations of malfeasance James has leveled against the NRA are central to the hearings on whether to dismiss the bankruptcy as a bad faith filing.
Changing the narrative on how data is used for public safety efforts. Joel Caplan, a criminologist, former police officer, and professor at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, writes about the need to embrace big data tools for preventing crime that don’t solely rely on the police. “Coordinated responses to crime problems require a routine and synchronized sharing of data analytics among all partners involved,” Caplan writes at the Violence Reduction Project, a website that collates violence prevention solutions from an array of practitioners. (You can read more about that project here in our weekly newsletter from January.) “To date, these tools remain largely in the hands of police departments, who also control the messages informed by them. This monopoly tends to yield outcomes that prioritize law enforcement activities or do not necessarily align with community priorities.”
A mass shooting at an office complex in Southern California left four people dead, including a child. Police had few other details about the lead up to the incident that occurred yesterday evening in the town of Orange. A woman victim and a man — the suspected shooter — were hospitalized and listed in critical condition. The complex was home to about a dozen small businesses. You can follow The Los Angeles Times for more updates.
4,000 — the number of additional homicides the United States saw in 2020, based on a 25-percent homicide rise nationwide found in preliminary FBI data. [The Guardian]