What to Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: David Chipman won’t lead the ATF, but he says his resolve has been hardened by the nomination fight. In one of his first interviews since the president pulled his nomination last month, Chipman told The Trace’s Brian Freskos and USA TODAY’s Nick Penzenstadler that he received little backing from the White House or the Department of Justice after a massive lobbying campaign erupted against him. But he said his political fight was minor compared to what victims of gun violence have gone through, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who endured brain injuries from a shooting in 2011. Chipman has been a senior policy adviser at Giffords’s gun reform organization for the last five years, and said he plans to continue his advocacy work. He had some pointed words for the ATF, where he spent 22 years, saying it has long been too reactive in combating gun crime instead of keeping guns away from people prohibited from owning them. “The agency isn’t rudderless,” Chipman said. “It’s sailing with a rudder set by the [gun] industry itself. Things are going just as planned: Target bad guys with guns, play nice with the industry, focus on things after the fact. You want them to have one mission: Protect the public. Period.” You can read the rest of the interview here.
Child injured in school shooting in Tennessee. Police say a student shot a 13-year-old boy at Cummings K-8 Optional School in Memphis on Thursday, then turned himself in to police. The incident is the 28th school shooting since classes across the country resumed in August, according to Gun Violence Archive. Related: Pediatric gunshot injuries are up in Memphis, with one hospital reporting a 50 percent increase between 2019 and 2020.
Smith & Wesson decamps for Tennessee. The Massachusetts-based gunmaker announced it was moving its headquarters from Springfield, where it’s been based since the 1850s, to Blount County near Knoxville. CEO Mark Smith cited Tennessee lawmakers’ “unwavering support of the Second Amendment” and praised them “for creating a welcoming, business-friendly environment.” Springfield will lose 550 jobs, but Blount County will gain 750, government officials said. Several Northeast gunmakers have moved to Republican-leaning states in recent years. In May, Troy Arms moved from Massachusetts to Tennessee due to the “changing climate,” widely interpreted to be a response to the state’s increasingly strict gun laws. In 2019, Connecticut-based Stag Arms moved to Wyoming, citing the “cultural climate” and “pro-growth economic environment.” In 2015, Magpul left Colorado after the state passed magazine limits. And in 2014, Remington moved much of its production from New York to Alabama, while Beretta USA moved its manufacturing division from Maryland to Gallatin, Tennessee.
Public officials, NYPD officers are Oath Keepers members, data leak reveals. On Monday, we told you how hackers gave DDoSecrets, a transparency and journalist collective, 5G of data from the far-right militia group that includes a member list, donor and financial information, and emails. On Thursday, WNYC and Gothamist revealed that three local officials and two active members of the New York Police Department are listed in the membership logs, along with dozens of names that seemed to match court and corrections officers. The NYPD officers whose names appeared in the leak are assigned to the Firearms & Tactics Section and the Strategic Response Group, which received brutality complaints for its policing of Black Lives Matter protests last year. The mayor is investigating. Eighteen people affiliated with the Oath Keepers have been charged with conspiracy related to the January 6 insurrection.
California governor signs police accountability bills. Gavin Newsom, fresh from fending off a recall attempt, signed into law a measure that eliminates qualified immunity for police officers. The legislation also creates a decertification process for officers who commit serious misconduct, leaving just three states — Hawaii, New Jersey, and Rhode Island — that lack such a process. The bill’s sponsor said the new law “will end the wash, rinse and repeat cycle of police misconduct.”
Today marks four years since the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. Fifty-eight people were killed at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the Las Vegas Strip on October 1, 2017, with a 59th victim dying in 2019 and a 60th victim dying last year. More than 400 other concertgoers were injured in the attack. From our archives: On the two-year anniversary of the tragedy, Ann Givens spoke with the so-called last responders to the massacre, the Clark County coroners who found innovative ways to process the trauma that left many of them feeling broken.
211,564 — the number of public comments the ATF received on a proposed rule that would regulate pistol stabilizing braces under the National Firearms Act. The agency says it needs at least four months to sift through them. [Ammoland]