What To Know Today
Advocates, survivors decry the slow pace of gun reform efforts from the president as they mark the Parkland shooting anniversary. March for Our Lives, which was founded by Parkland survivor David Hogg, joined with Guns Down America and Change the Ref in calling upon President Joe Biden to live up to promises he made on the campaign trail about how his administration would confront gun violence. On a new website that tracks how many people have been injured or killed by guns since Biden’s inauguration, the groups asked the president to establish a national office of gun violence prevention; appoint a new permanent head to lead the ATF; fund more community violence intervention efforts; and use his executive powers to “coordinate a unified, national response” to the crisis. Bringing the message to Biden’s front door: Manuel Oliver, who founded Change the Ref after his son Joaquin was killed in the Parkland shooting, was arrested Monday after climbing a crane near the White House and unfurling a banner that read, “45K people died from gun violence on your watch.” Related: Last week, Chip Brownlee reported on activists’ push to get Biden to launch a gun violence prevention office, which would coordinate all activity on the issue across federal agencies. Since Parkland: Three years ago, we worked with more than 200 teen journalists to memorialize the 1,200 child gun violence victims in the year after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which claimed 17 lives.
Pennsylvania court rules against Philly’s effort to make people report missing or stolen guns. A unanimous three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court ruled that the city’s mandate requiring gun owners to tell police when a firearm is lost or stolen constituted “a form of bad faith and harassment” in violating the state’s preemption law. Since 2019, Philadelphia has sought to collect a $2,000 fine from a man charged with violating the city mandate, the first time the city had tried to bring an enforcement action under the decade-old anti-trafficking ordinance. While ruling against Philadelphia, one of the judges urged the state Supreme Court to reconsider the current legal standard that restricts how municipalities can enforce their gun policies. “Local conditions may well justify more severe restrictions than are necessary statewide,” Senior Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter wrote in the decision. From The Trace: In late 2020, Brain Freskos wrote about the case and how cities like Philadelphia are constrained in enforcing stricter gun laws than their surrounding state.
Far-right podcaster arrested for illegal possession of machine guns. Joseph Paul Berger was arrested along with his father, Joseph Raymond Berger, and charged with multiple gun-related offenses including illegally possessing 13 fully automatic machine guns and 12 silencers. According to the FBI, the case began when border agents intercepted a package of three silencers that were illegally imported from China and addressed to the residence where the Bergers both live. The indictment says the silencers and machine guns, which federal investigators recovered after obtaining a warrant based on the earlier package, were not registered under the National Firearms Act. The younger Berger, a Navy veteran, hosts the Alt-Right Armory podcast, a mishmash of gun tech, gun rights, conspiracy theorizing, and anti-government and extremist politics.
Missouri bill dubbed “Make Murder Legal Act” fails in committee. The controversial legislation drew widespread outcry because it would have altered the state’s Stand Your Ground law to presume that someone’s use of deadly force was defensible, placing the burden on prosecutors to demonstrate “clear and convincing evidence” in a pretrial hearing before they could press charges. It also offered civil immunity for deadly force.
Louisville mayoral candidate uninjured after man opens fire. Police said an assailant walked into the campaign office of Craig Greenberg and shot at him on Monday morning, grazing Greenberg’s shirt. Police arrested the suspect, a local civil rights advocate. “My team is blessed no one was physically injured today,” Greenberg, who is vying for the Democratic nomination in an upcoming primary, said at a press conference.
14 — the number of times since 2016 a violence hotspot patrolled by the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, a violence reduction nonprofit, has gone 365 consecutive days without a murder, according to its board president. The group works with community members and the police to keep specific locations with elevated violence safe through regular patrols. [Reverend Dr. Charles Harrison]