Maine Governor Janet Mills, a Democrat, called for a number of gun safety measures during her State of the State address, including expanding background checks, creating a new felony offense for selling firearms to people prohibited from having them, establishing a program to track data on violence, and strengthening the state’s “yellow flag” law. The proposals come after the October gun rampage in Lewiston, the deadliest mass shooting in state history, and represent a departure from Maine’s historically permissive firearm laws. [Portland Press Herald]
Every February, Michael “O.G. Law” Ta‘Bon takes his truck on a month-long trip around the streets of Philadelphia. It’s not just any trip — the annual expedition is part of Ta‘Bon’s violence prevention work — and it’s not just any truck. His flatbed is both a traveling art exhibit and community center, and outfitted with a 20-by-6 foot custom-built, two-story compartment that contains a replica of a jail cell. It’s an unmissable sight, meant to bring awareness to the toll that imprisonment and premature death takes on a community.
At each stop, other activists and Ta‘Bon, who was previously incarcerated for armed robbery, offer “sidewalk therapy,” listening to community members and sharing advice and resources. There’s another, macabre element: During tours of the jail cell, Ta‘Bon allows children to wear handcuffs and slip into a casket, an intentionally shocking lesson about potential life outcomes.
“I am teaching death and prison prevention,” he told The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean. “When kids look in the casket they will see themselves in the mirror. … We have the only casket designed to keep people out of the grave.”
What to Know Today
Controversial gunshot-detection system ShotSpotter missed hundreds of instances of gunfire in Chicago last year, per Police Department reports to the company (now called SoundThinking), as well as a 55-round shooting that wounded two men in December 2022. Internal company emails show that executives were repeatedly warned about electrical code violations; three sensors in the area of the 2022 incident were not working at the time of the shooting. [South Side Weekly]
For most of the last decade, Wyoming has had one of the highest suicide rates in the country — specifically, high rates of gun suicide. Part of the problem, said Republican Governor Mark Gordon, is the state’s frontier ethos. On Monday, he unveiled a plan, tailored to Wyoming’s unique culture, to reduce suicides by implementing criminal justice reforms, increasing access to care, and reducing stigma around mental health issues. [WyoFile/NPR]
The Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision upended firearm laws across the country and sowed confusion throughout the legal system, as lower court judges employed dueling interpretations of its constitutional test for gun regulations. A new analysis examines the relationship between judges’ presidential appointments and the outcomes of their post-Bruen gun cases. [Duke Center for Firearms Law]
Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley is the latest public official to fall victim to “swatting” — fake emergency reports intended to prompt responses from SWAT teams — after a man called 911 to falsely report a shooting at her South Carolina home. The surge in swatting attacks coincides with a rise in bomb threats in statehouses across the country. [Mother Jones/Roll Call]
75 percent — the proportion of suicides in Wyoming that involve a firearm, compared with just over 50 percent nationally. [NPR]