What To Know Today

Judge Jackson on crime and guns. The Supreme Court nominee’s judicial record on firearms is scant — in her brief time on the D.C. Court of Appeals, she hasn’t issued a ruling on gun rights. But during her second day of confirmation hearings, Jackson reaffirmed her view on Second Amendment precedent and fleshed out her perspective on public safety issues:

  • On the Second Amendment: “Do you believe the individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa asked the nominee. “Senator,” she responded, “the Supreme Court has established that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right.” Her answer echoes a written response she gave during her confirmation hearing last year for the D.C. Court of Appeals (see question 12).
  • On public safety: Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont asked her about right-wing criticisms that her record is soft on crime. “I know what it’s like to have loved ones who go off to protect and to serve, and the fear of not knowing whether [they will] come home again because of crime in the community,” she said. “Crime and the effects on the community and the need for law enforcement — those are not abstract concepts or political slogans to me.” 

Hearings resume today.

Wyoming makes it illegal for state officials to enforce “unconstitutional” federal gun laws. Republican Governor Mark Gordon signed the bill prohibiting state officials from enforcing federal regulations of firearms, accessories, magazines, and ammunition. Any public officer who knowingly fails to comply faces some of the harshest punishments for violation in the nation: guilty of misdemeanor, a fine of $2,000, or both. The law, which goes into effect this summer, is similar to Missouri’s “Second Amendment Sanctuary” Law, now the subject of state and federal lawsuits. At least eight additional states with GOP-controlled legislatures passed similar laws last year. But unlike Missouri’s and Wyoming’s, most excluded penalty provisions, making them largely symbolic.

A tragic intersection of mental illness, homelessness, and gun violence. A Washington, D.C., man faces murder charges for allegedly shooting Morgan Holmes in early March before traveling to New York City and killing Abdoulaye Coulibaly. Both victims were unhoused. The New York Times offers a searching deep-dive on the tragedy and its effects. “The spasms of bloodshed came as the two cities grappled with intertwined crises of homelessness and untreated mental illness that have grown more acute during the pandemic, and have also faced rising gun violence,” the report reads. “But crises, even citywide ones, are made up of individual tragedies — and of families who are quietly enduring years of worry and pain.”

Listen: How advocates in one Portland neighborhood are using orange traffic barrels for violence reduction. In the Mount Scott Arleta neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, which was hit particularly hard by the pandemic shooting surge, local advocates experimented with environmental design. To prevent people from committing violence, they used the cones to discourage would-be shooters from quickly driving into and out of neighborhoods. OPB spoke with three advocates behind the program who believe it contributed to a concurrent shooting decrease.

Data Point

54 percent — the average answer of Americans when asked what share of Americans own a gun. That’s according to a recent YouGov poll, which demonstrates that Americans frequently overestimate or underestimate the size of demographic groups. In fact, about 32 percent of Americans own guns. [YouGov]

CORRECTION: Monday’s bulletin stated that the city of Baltimore allocated $50 million from its American Rescue Plan Act funds to ReBUILD Metro, a nonprofit. While ReBUILD advocated for the money, it did not directly receive it. The allocation will be used to tackle vacancy across the city, including communities ReBUILD serves.