What To Know Today

ICYMI from THE TRACE: Susan LaPierre hosted galas that had nothing to do with gun rights. The NRA covered entertainment costs. The wife of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre threw star-studded fundraising events for Youth for Tomorrow, a Christian charity whose board she led. Invoices obtained by The Trace show the gun group paid tens of thousands of dollars for entertainment, including performances by Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson. The payments were never disclosed in the gun group’s tax filings, and raise new concerns over self-dealing at the organization. “That’s theft,” said James Fishman, a leading nonprofit law expert, when told about the payments. “Taking money that belongs to one organization and spending it on another, with zero benefit to the NRA.” Mike Spies has the full story here.

There are few clues about how Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson might rule on guns. On Friday, President Joe Biden announced his pick to replace retiring justice Stephen Breyer. Jackson has been on the D.C. Court of Appeals since June, but has not ruled on guns and was not asked about firearms jurisprudence during her confirmation hearing last year. She did, however, give some small indication in written responses to questions from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin:

  • How would she ensure Americans are confident that Second Amendment rights are protected? “As a sitting federal judge, I am bound to apply faithfully all binding precedents of the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court, including all precedents that pertain to the Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms. If I were to be confirmed to the D.C. Circuit, that obligation would not change.”
  • Was she concerned that her past public defender work might allow more criminals and gun criminals back on the street? “The primary concern of lawyers of who work as public defenders is the same as that of the Framers who crafted the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution: that, in order to guarantee liberty and justice for all, the government has to provide due process to the individuals it accuses of criminal behavior, including the rights to a grand jury indictment, a fair trial by a jury of one’s peers, and competent legal counsel to hold the government accountable for providing a fair process and otherwise assist in the preparation of a defense against the charges.”

Despite Jackson’s sparse record on firearms, the major gun reform groups all praised her appointment. Meanwhile, gun-rights groups offered more skepticism

3 out of 10 residents of Washington, D.C., don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods. That’s according to a Washington Post poll about public safety that comes as shootings in the nation’s capital show few signs of abating. In areas with the highest rates of violent crime, the share of residents who said they didn’t feel safe was higher. Violence is by far the biggest political concern, with 36 percent of residents naming crime, guns, or violence as the District’s most pressing problem, more than double from 2019. Other takeaways:

  • Overwhelming support for non-law enforcement solutions to violence: 82 percent said more economic spending on low-income areas would be effective to reduce crime, while almost half said it would reduce crime by “a lot.” Meanwhile, 63 percent of residents thought street outreach work like violence interruption would reduce crime while only 44 percent said longer prison sentences for gun law violations would help. 
  • Support for policing as crime prevention. But falling support for the police. 59 percent of people supported increasing the number of patrol officers, but the number of people rating D.C. police as “good” or “excellent” declined to 54 percent, down from 74 percent in 2017.

A weekend mass shooting in Las Vegas left 13 people injured and one killed. The incident happened early Saturday morning at a Las Vegas hookah lounge, and police say they believe an altercation between partygoers precipitated an exchange of gunfire. It was one of 69 mass shootings (four or more people shot) in the United States so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.

Data Point

23 percent — the share of Black residents of Washington, D.C., who said that someone in their household had been a victim of violent crime in the last five years. That’s compared to 21 percent of residents who are Hispanic, Asian, or of other backgrounds, and 8 percent of white residents. [The Washington Post]