What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: Up the Block, our website for Philadelphians affected by gun violence, is live. We invite you to visit the new site, offered in both English and Spanish, where Philly residents who have experienced gun violence can search for resources in their own neighborhoods and filter by the type of help they need, from victims compensation to post-incarceration resources and more. Up the Block now includes organizations focused on supporting people affected by gun violence and incarceration. Soon, the guide will expand to include resources geared toward helping kids, teens, and young adults find after-school activities and safe community spaces. Later this year, there will be additional information on how to hold local leaders accountable for taking action on gun violence prevention. The Trace’s Sabrina Iglesias, who is leading the project, has more here in the launch post.
Do you have ideas or feedback for Up the Block? Email us at [email protected]. If you aren’t a Philadelphian, but you still want to help us spread the word, you can email, follow, and DM the project’s Instagram account at @uptheblockphl, or sign up for email updates using this form.
Philadelphia’s budget compromise includes millions more in anti-violence funds. After weeks of negotiations between the City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney, city leadership announced an agreement on a $5.27 billion budget, with what the mayor and councilmembers say is more than $150 million in anti-violence funding for fiscal year 2022. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, much of the $68 million in new spending toward nonpolice anti-violence efforts, which councilmembers are touting as securing the compromise, was already part of the mayor’s original budget proposal. The city is “expanding the definition of violence prevention,” a mayoral spokesperson told the paper. The Inquirer notes that $25.6 million in new funding will nonetheless be available for violence prevention work as a result of the budget negotiations.
NRA members seek to be heard in New York AG case. Frank Tait, a 2021 write-in candidate for the group’s board of directors, and Mario Aguirre, an National Rifle Association life member, filed a motion on June 17 to intervene in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s suit against the gun group. “To the extent possible,” a filing in support of the motion states, “intervenors seek to work with the Attorney General in reforming the NRA’s leadership on behalf of all rank-and-file NRA members, while opposing those demands of the Attorney General that are not in the best interest of the NRA or its membership.” Specifically, Tait and Aguirre support the removal of NRA boss Wayne LaPierre if James’s allegations prove true and want to see the organization recover misspent funds. However, they oppose the dissolution of the NRA, which is one possible, though unlikely, outcome of the attorney general’s suit. Citing conflicts of interest, the two are also seeking an order dismissing the NRA’s outside law firm, Brewer Attorneys & Counselors, from the case. The Trace has written about controversy surrounding firm founder William A. Brewer III. The men are represented by Alabama attorney George C. Douglas, Jr., who in November asked the court to dismiss Brewer and require the attorney general to formally notify the group’s membership of her lawsuit. James and Brewer both opposed Douglas’s request, which was not successful. — Will Van Sant, staff writer
Colorado expands gun restrictions three months after Boulder mass shooting. Governor Jared Polis on Saturday signed three laws expanding background checks and widening the list of prohibited gun purchasers; earmarking $3 million to create the state’s first gun violence prevention office; and overturning the state’s preemption law to allow local governments to pass stricter gun ordinances. That follows other enacted bills this year on safe storage and reporting stolen or lost guns. Another bill to remove guns from abusers awaits the governor’s signature. As The Denver Post notes, Colorado previously instituted just one new gun law in the past seven years.
St. Louis couple who aimed guns at protesters pleads guilty to harassment, assault charges. Mark and Patricia McCloskey launched into the national spotlight last year when video circulated of them pointing guns at Black Lives Matter demonstrators who marched near their home. As part of a plea deal, the couple will give up the guns they wielded last summer and pay nearly $3,000 in fines.
Texas enacts permitless carry. Starting September 1, Texans can carry handguns without a license or training after Governor Greg Abbott signed the law. The policy’s popularity among gun rights groups and Republicans has helped propel a slew of other states to enact versions of the law this year, though it still lacks majority support in Texas.
$388 million — President Joe Biden’s budget request for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ hiring program. The number would more than double COPS funding under the Trump administration. [Department of Justice]