What to Know Today
New Orleans has the highest murder rate of any major city this year. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a nonprofit group of police executives, the Louisiana city had 41 homicides per 100,000 residents through the first half of 2022, far surpassing Chicago (11.5), Los Angeles (4.8), and New York City (2.4). Both city officials and residents blame an overtaxed police force struggling to comply with a federal mandate to tackle corruption. The average police response time is over two hours, according to one analysis. “We’re in a crisis of crime and a crisis of confidence in this city,” a former New Orleans police superintendent said. Context: St. Louis has topped the ranking of major city murder rates since 2014, but New Orleans has consistently ranked among the top five.
The majority of Texans support raising the age to buy semiautomatic rifles — and also want teachers to carry guns. According to a new poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, 73 percent of registered voters support a ban for adults under 21, a figure that includes 69 percent of Republicans, while 21 percent of all respondents (and 26 percent of Republicans) oppose such a ban. Fifty-five percent of respondents also support allowing teachers and other staffers to carry guns in schools. Meanwhile, 63 percent are concerned about the possibility of gun violence in their community, including a majority of Democrats, Independents, Republicans, white people, Black people, and Latino people. Less than half of respondents — 43 percent — said they possess guns. Context: In July, The Trace and The Texas Tribune explored Texans’ complicated relationship with guns.
California sheriff faces questions over fast-tracked gun permits for campaign donors. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that at least 50 people who obtained concealed carry licenses during the tenure of LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva donated to his 2018 election campaign or his 2022 re-election campaign. More than half donated money before they got the permit. For some of these donors, a six-to-eight-month wait was shortened to one or two months. While in office, Villanueva relaxed the standards for pistol permits, and the resulting surge in permit holders — an eighteenfold increase in 2020 alone — has been a point of pride for the sheriff. Earlier this month, two sheriff’s deputies were suspended as a result of a criminal investigation into “irregularities discovered in the CCW application process.”
Sig Sauer avoids class action suit over defective handgun. A New Hampshire judge rejected a claim from an Arizona police officer who argued that a trigger defect in the P320 pistol has “significantly diminished [the] resale value” of his handgun. At least 20 civil lawsuits have been filed against the Newington-based gunmaker by people who were allegedly injured when the gun unintentionally discharged. Several of the plaintiffs are police officers.
Gun policies cost Citigroup a municipal contract in Texas. Officials in the city of Anna rejected the banking giant’s bid to underwrite $100 million in bond sales even though it submitted the winning bid. The city will lose more than a quarter-million dollars on the deal. The state attorney general’s office is reviewing whether Citigroup is in compliance with a 2021 state law that prevents the state from doing business with companies unless they vow not to “discriminate” against gun companies. In the aftermath of the 2018 Parkland shooting, Citigroup implemented policies barring its retail clients from selling guns without a background check or to people under 21. The financial firm has underwritten municipal bonds in Texas since then, and says it’s in compliance with the 2021 law.
Woman killed by neighbor holding target practice in his backyard. On August 27, Kesha Luwan Lucille Tate, 42, a mother of nine, was shot by her neighbor in Gaffney, South Carolina, after she asked him to stop firing his gun. The suspect, Nicholas Lucas, was allegedly intoxicated, and faces a murder charge. Tate’s family is questioning why Lucas was allowed to possess a gun, since he has a past assault conviction, and why there’s no state law barring backyard target practice. They’re now trying to pass the “Kesha Tate Target Law,” which would make it a crime to fire a gun in a residential neighborhood. More than just a name: Kesha Tate was a “social butterfly” who always took care of her family and friends, even as a preteen. Read more about her life from the AP.
22 — the number of transgender, gender-nonconforming, or nonbinary people who have died of gunshot wounds so far in 2022. [Human Rights Campaign]