What to Know Today

State preemption laws overwhelmingly favor gun rights policies. More than 40 states have laws holding that local laws can’t trump state rules. Only Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York generally allow local officials to pass their own firearms-related public safety laws without restriction. That legal landscape, according to a new study from researchers at the NYU School of Global Public Health, makes gun restrictions nationwide far less likely. Looking at all 50 states from 2009 through 2018, they found that nearly 40 that had preemption laws had enacted no substantive statewide gun reform. “Our study provides direct evidence that the vast majority of states use preemption to support gun rights and remove communities’ authority to enact gun control protections,” said lead author Jennifer Pomeranz in a press release. More from The Trace: After the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, where a judge had previously thrown out a city gun restriction on preemption grounds, we looked at the battle between local governments that want to restrict firearms and the gun rights groups increasingly using the courts to oppose them.

Go big or go home: Gun violence prevention experts call for sustained funding. “What America urgently needs is community violence prevention infrastructure, a system of physical, social, political and financial connections among community violence preventionists that can support, develop and sustain on-the-ground efforts to reduce gun violence,” write leading researchers Andrew Papachristos and Daniel Webster in a commentary for U.S. News & World Report. “As with all public goods, such a system will require public investment and long-term commitments from government at all levels, as well as from community institutions.” They point to a number of community violence prevention programs with strong track records in cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Oakland, and say that the Biden administration’s $5 billion funding pledge is an important shift. But they argue that any truly effective strategy must be national and coordinated: “It is essential that such investments are not just scattered haphazardly across programs or neighborhoods. Focusing on programs rather than infrastructure is akin to building only small stretches of roads or railways that never connect.”

Democratic AGs write to Senate leaders in support of Biden ATF nominee. In an open letter, top law enforcement officials in 17 states threw their weight behind David Chipman. The longtime agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who became a gun reform advocate, was the president’s pick to be the first permanent head of the agency since 2015. Chipman, whose gun policy views we collected here, will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. “He has deep experience at that agency, and he is ready to work with law enforcement, the communities most heavily impacted by violence, and others to make our nation safer while upholding Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” the letter reads. 

Another member of the Oath Keepers charged over Capitol insurrection. In court documents unsealed Thursday, federal prosecutors allege that James Breheny is the coordinator for the Bergen County, New Jersey, chapter of the far-right militia and that he joined in a conspiracy with other group members to violently breach the Capitol on January 6. Breheny is one of a dozen reported Oath Keepers members who have been charged with conspiracy over the attack. Breheny faces several charges, including violent entry and impeding an official investigation.

Data Points

$1.7 billion — the budget allocation for the Chicago Police Department in 2021.

$36 million — Chicago’s budget allocation for community-focused violence prevention. [U.S. News & World Report]