What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Are militias legal? The Second Amendment necessitates “a well regulated Militia” for the security of a free state, and Americans have been parsing the language ever since. Here at The Trace, particularly after the January 6 insurrection, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about militias. Some of our recent coverage has explored the topic, but a reader’s recent inquiry about what, exactly, a militia is prompted our latest Ask The Trace. The gist: Militias are allowed to exist as private groups, so long as they don’t take their activities into the public realm — or plan to do so. But they cross the line into illegal activity “if they are training on private property in order to engage in unlawful activity in public,” expert Mary McCord tells us. In other words, a private militia that deploys itself, without the permission of the state or federal government, is illegal. Jennifer Mascia has more on the topic here. Have a question about guns or gun violence? Submit your queries using this form and we may answer it for Ask The Trace.

“Devastating” surge in gun violence in Philadelphia leaves 24 people shot in 24 hours. From Thursday to early Friday, five people were killed in numerous shootings across the city; a one-hour stretch on Thursday afternoon saw at least nine people shot in five separate incidents. Violence continued through the weekend, with another at least 11 incidents on Saturday and Sunday leaving 14 injured and three dead. “Violence and trauma of these incidents extend beyond those directly affected and permeate into the very fabric of our communities,” said Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. Same scourge, different national media reaction: Jim MacMillan of the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting pointed out the relative lack of coverage about Philadelphia’s sustained surge compared to national reporting over the Brooklyn subway mass shooting. “Worse than NYC subway shooting. Same suffering. Same burden on systems. Same costs. Greater harm and continuing risk in neighborhoods. No breathless cable news coverage for some reason,” he tweeted. Live in Philly and have been affected by gun violence? Check out our Up The Block resource hub. 

U.S. records at least 143rd mass shooting of the year after another violent weekend. That tally comes from Gun Violence Archive, which documented nine incidents with four or more people shot on Saturday and Sunday. In Pittsburgh, two minors were killed and at least eight others were injured from gunfire during a late-night party at a rented apartment in which more than 50 rounds were fired, police said. South Carolina’s two mass shootings in two days: On Saturday afternoon, 10 people were shot at a mall in Columbia after an apparent dispute turned violent; then on Sunday, at least nine people were shot at a nightclub in Hampton.  

Minneapolis approves $1.8M payout for protesters shot with “less lethal” projectiles. The city agreed to pay two people who sued over alleged injuries they suffered when police hit them with projectiles during the May 2020 protests. The action comes 12 months after a Department of Justice civil rights investigation into the Police Department’s practices. Protesters in Austin, Texas, and elsewhere have also sued over injuries from less-lethal rounds.

Why do people carry guns illegally? A new study in New Jersey aims to find out. Rutgers’ New Jersey Gun Violence Center and the Newark Community Street Team are researching illicit gun ownership in Newark. They hope their findings will help leaders address both urban gun violence and the day-to-day concerns of local young people in communities facing elevated violence.

Data Point

87 percent — in one study, the share of 330 young people in New York City from disadvantaged neighborhoods who reported having owned or carried a gun. Most said they went armed because of a lack of trust in the police and/or concern about personal safety. [Center for Court Innovation]