What To Know Today
Philadelphia leaders ask city to use federal stimulus funds to boost gun violence prevention budget. In his recent $5.2 billion budget proposal, funded in part by the federal outlay, Mayor Jim Kenney earmarked $34 million for anti-violence efforts amid a surge in violence that has hit the city especially hard. But members of the City Council are urging the mayor to pledge $50 million more, arguing the current commitments fall far short of both city investments to public safety and the scope of the problem. Their plan, which funds community-led safety efforts in the 10 zip codes most affected by gun violence, would come from the city’s expected $1.4 billion in stimulus money. “I hope that we use this infusion of funds as an opportunity to reflect the fact that eradicating gun violence is a public safety priority, a public health priority, and a racial justice priority all wrapped into one,” City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said in a news conference. Mayors of cities like Akron, Ohio, and Atlanta have already pledged to use stimulus funds to fund similar community-focused programs.
Federal investigation of the Oath Keepers deepens. Prosecutors have now charged 16 members of the far-right militia group in an expanding conspiracy probe related to the Capitol insurrection, Mother Jones reports. The magazine notes that prosecutors may be building a case against Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes after reportedly seizing his phone in May. Prosecutors allege that militia members charged in the insurrection had a cache of guns ready for use. None of the Oath Keepers have been indicted on firearms charges, but at least 10 other people implicated in the Capitol riot have been.
Related developments on the extremism front. The Department of Justice announced gun-related updates against two men this week: In Texas, a 25-year-old self-proclaimed boogaloo believer and militia member pleaded guilty to illegally possessing ammunition and guns while under a domestic violence protective order; and in Montana, a federal grand jury indicted a 44-year-old for a hate crime that includes attempted murder for shooting into someone’s house while threatening homophobic violence.
The historic gun sales surge continues. Americans bought 1.62 million guns in May. The seasonally adjusted figure includes about 980,000 handguns and 650,000 long guns, according to our updated analysis of FBI background check data. While that’s down 18 percent from the previous May, it was still the 14th highest month on record. Daniel Nass, who built our tracker, was included last weekend in The New York Times’ story about rising gun ownership.
Oregon bans guns at the state Capitol, mandates safe storage requirements. The bill, signed this week by the state’s Democratic governor, amended a law that allowed concealed carriers to bring handguns into the Capitol building. The bill also gives colleges and schools the ability to restrict firearms, and requires residents to safely store their guns at home.
37 — the number of workplace shootings since 2009 that left four or more people dead. Five of those incidents, including last week’s shooting at a San Jose railyard, occurred in the last 10 weeks. [The Los Angeles Times]