What to Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: As midterms loom, right wingers are revving up the faithful with talk of religion and guns. After the FBI searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on August 9 as part of an investigation into the alleged mishandling of classified documents, right-wing candidates for state office across the country took to their fringe social media pages. The Trace reviewed their campaign platforms, public appearances, posts on fringe websites and social media; analyzed engagement with their supporters; followed their newsletters; and closely tracked right-wing events and media. We found that their rhetoric mixes Christian nationalism with armed rebellion — presenting a threat that extremism experts do not take lightly. The groups that participate most in these spaces “prioritize Second Amendment rights, and will continue to do so, especially as things seem increasingly urgent to them,” one extremism expert told us. Read the rest of contributor Lila Hassan’s report here

Report ties neighborhood conditions, coronavirus to NYC gun violence. New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams released a report last week urging local, state, and federal officials to invest resources in the root causes of gun violence, including job security, access to healthy food, mental health care and crisis response, and affordable housing. The report highlights some eye-opening stats linking historic disinvestment with frequency of shootings, and also found that “out of the 74 zip codes identified by the city as coronavirus hot spots at the height of the pandemic, 62 of them — or 84 percent — also had twice as many shootings last year as the citywide average.” 

Teen activist says congresswoman assaulted her during gun violence debate. Outside the Capitol on Thursday, members of the group Voters for Tomorrow were pressing Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene about how the Second Amendment prevents gun violence when Greene allegedly stepped on the foot of Marianna Pecora, 18, then kicked her. Video of the incident shows a surprised Pecora exclaim “Oh, my God!” as Greene looks at Pecora’s feet and says “excuse me.” The group is considering filing charges.

Federal agencies see rise in ghost guns and illegal devices in Hawaii. “Whenever we execute a search warrant or an arrest warrant, it’s now almost a normal thing for us to find one or more ghost guns,” a Homeland Security official told HawaiiNewsNow. In addition to unserialized weapons, ATF and Homeland Security agents are seizing an increasing number of silencers, high-capacity magazines, and auto sears, which allow handguns to fire like machine guns. The seizures are concerning, as shootings in the state are rare. From The Trace archives: How Hawaii manages to be home to both a rising number of firearms and rock-bottom rates of gun violence.

ATF says ammo stolen from shipping containers. The agency said “large quantities” of Winchester 9mm ammunition were stolen from freight stations in three cities in the Raleigh and Durham areas of North Carolina on September 5 and 6. The ATF warned local gun dealers to be on the lookout for people trying to sell the stolen bullets. 

Lockdowns and drills are a steep price to pay for American gun culture. Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak describes the terror and confusion that ensued when a report of a student with a gun last week led to a lockdown at a D.C.-area high school. Students huddled in the dark for an hour before getting the all-clear. “Do you know how long an hour is when you think you are going to die,” one of them asked Dvorak. Some of the kids texted their parents during the lockdown, only to be scolded by the administration for “heighten[ing] the anxiety and complicat[ing] matters for police and staff.” “I feel really unseen,” said Lila Ben-Yehuda, 15.

Data Point

136 — the number of guns intercepted at security checkpoints at Nashville International Airport so far this year, up 30 percent from this time last year. The airport is seeing three times the amount of guns per passenger than other airports, a TSA official said. [WKRN]