What To Know Today
Bipartisan majorities of Americans support diverting some law enforcement funds for other public safety efforts. A new wide-ranging survey of 1,400 Americans from Benenson Strategy Group, a consultancy founded by a prominent Democratic pollster, found that 82 percent of respondents favored redirecting some funds to youth recreation; 81 percent to conflict interruption programs; 77 percent to hiring more educators; 77 percent to childcare, 75 percent to health centers; and 74 percent to community-oriented public safety. There was less but still majority support for proposals that would also reduce the scope of law enforcement, including reducing the policing of homeless shelters. “What people recognize is missing from public safety is community improvements — not more police,” the report reads.
As Texas nears enactment of a permitless carry bill, a majority of voters oppose it. The GOP-controlled Legislature is on the verge of passing the measure that would allow people to carry their handguns in public spaces without a state-issued permit. Texas would be the fifth state to enact a permitless carry measure this year. The legislation passed the state House and got approval from the Senate on Wednesday in a close vote. The bill has drawn opposition from police departments in the state’s major cities, some firearms instructors, and gun reform groups. The two chambers still need to resolve differences before sending the bill to Governor Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it into law. Separately, 59 percent of voters said they opposed permitless carry (vs. 34 percent in support), according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Opposition was fueled largely by Democrats (85 percent) and independents (54 percent), although it also drew a sizable minority of Republicans (39 percent). Related: Similar legislation cleared the Louisiana House on Wednesday, following the Senate’s approval of a separate permitless carry bill last week. Should both chambers agree on a version, the state’s Democratic governor has promised a veto. — Chip Brownlee
Columbia Journalism Review launches gun violence coverage commitment. Last month, the magazine and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma convened a summit on the media and mass shootings with experts and gun violence journalists, including The Trace’s Alain Stephens. You can watch a video of the event or read the Bulletin’s recap. Now, CJR has distilled the following six lessons and best practices from the events in a CJR Gun Violence Coverage Commitment:
- We pledge to cover gun violence like the unfolding health crisis it is.
- We pledge to allocate the time and resources needed to cover this crisis.
- We pledge to acknowledge and address racist coverage.
- We pledge to cover mass shootings as part of the larger gun violence problem.
- We pledge to focus our resources on grassroots efforts.
- We pledge to learn the lessons of the pandemic.
They are asking news organizations to sign. You can read more about the efforts and the six points here.
The role of clinicians — and the mental health misnomer — in preventing mass shootings. In an op-ed in MedPage Today, Dr. Amy Barnhorst argues that assuming mental illness on the part of perpetrators and targeting solutions primarily at fixing the mental health system — as some have called for — is a misguided way to approach reducing mass gun violence. “While a minority of these shooters might have benefited from treatment to reduce psychotic symptoms, the majority appeared to be driven more by entitlement, misogyny, white supremacy, or a desire for revenge — conditions that are notoriously difficult to treat. Not to mention, it’s difficult to get people into treatment if they are not willing to go voluntarily.” Instead, she recommends steps like utilizing red flag laws to temporarily remove firearms from people deemed a credible social threat, or prevention programs for clinicians to effectively counsel their patients about preventing firearm violence.
7 hours — the amount of time Justin Blake spent in a police restraint chair after a disorderly conduct arrest following an April courthouse sit-in protesting the reinstatement of officer who shot his nephew, Jacob Blake. Blake says his time in the chair, which is usually reserved for individuals acting violently, caused injury to his shoulder. [Kenosha News]