What To Know Today
Drawing funding from police, Oakland’s Department of Violence Prevention gets $17 million. Will it be enough? The city office formed in 2017, but got its first significant funding only this June. Its leader, Guillermo Cespedes, wants to double the number of violence interrupters to 20, increase support for families of homicide victims, and hire a crime-scene response team. But even with a contentious recently passed budget that pushed police spending to historic levels, department leadership isn’t happy about giving Cespedes the proposed additional funding. With Oakland recording 72 homicides this year as of last Thursday, compared with 40 at that time last year, Cespedes doesn’t see any other choice but to treat gun violence as a public health emergency and expand beyond a law enforcement-centric approach. “Homicide reduction, it’s something the city of Oakland has to be successful at,” Cespedes told City Council members recently.
Two decades ago California planned to take guns from dangerous people. Now, the program is failing. The state was the first in the country to build a database of people who legally bought guns, but then became legally prohibited to remain armed because of serious mental health diagnosis, restraining orders, or charges for violent crime. But a state DOJ list from the beginning of this year shows that the backlog of yet-to-be-recovered guns on the Armed and Prohibited Persons System is longer than ever before at 24,000 people. Police say they didn’t know about the monthly reports that identify the unlawfully armed, judges aren’t doing much to ensure their orders to seize guns are carried out, and the understaffed state Bureau of Firearms is struggling to keep up with new additions to the system. A CalMatters investigation examined a sampling of the list it could legally obtain to capture what’s at stake. “I can’t even believe they’d allow him to be armed. It’s a complete shock,” a grandmother said of the neighbor convicted of attacking her in 2016, who wasn’t supposed to be able to own a gun for 10 years.
Federal prosecutors charge self-proclaimed “incel” with hate crime, mass shooting plot. The Department of Justice said the 21-year-old Ohio man allegedly plotted to target a sorority at a university and charged him with illegally possessing a machine gun. He faces up to 10 years for the gun charge and a maximum of life in prison for the hate crime charge, since it was defined as an attempt to kill. Men who identify as “involuntary celibates” gather online to blame women for their feelings of sexual unfulfillment. Posts collected by federal prosecutors say the Ohio man compared his plan to a 2014 shooting in Isla Vista, California, in which another incel killed six and injured 14 outside of a University of California, Santa Barbara, sorority house. Related from The Trace: A number of other self-described incels have been implicated in deadly mass shootings, many of them also drawing inspiration from the Isla Vista perpetrator.
Philadelphia’s mayor won’t declare a gun violence state of emergency. City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier and colleagues have pushed for months for such a declaration to deal with the city’s increasing shootings — which have reached historic levels in Gauther’s West Philadelphia district. But while Mayor Jim Kenney has pushed for treating gun violence like a public health crisis and secured $155 million in the recent city budget for community-focused violence prevention, his administration says emergency designation is largely for show and would not “demonstrably change conditions.” The council members disagree, saying the declaration would have drawn more attention to the crisis and made more resources available.
Ex-DEA agent charged with bringing a gun to Capitol. Mark Ibrahim was off duty when he showed up to the Capitol on January 6. But while Ibrahim said he attended as a spectator, federal prosecutors alleged in charging documents that he flashed his official Drug Enforcement Administration badge and the government-issued service weapon on his hip while on the grounds. He was charged on four counts, including bringing a gun into a restricted place and making false statements. These are believed to be the first January 6 insurrection charges brought against a federal law enforcement official. (Ibrahim has since left the DEA.)
At least 12 — the number of informants the FBI reportedly employed to infiltrate armed extremist groups that allegedly plotted to kidnap Michigan’s governor. [Buzzfeed News]