What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: A deep dive into background checks. In another dispatch on the Senate gun framework, Chip Brownlee provides some additional context on one of the key provisions: What would the deal mean for those 18 to 21? Currently, federal law prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling handguns to those under 21, and from selling long guns to those under 18. The agreement includes what the bipartisan negotiating group is calling an enhanced background check process for those under 21. The framework has very few details, but once drafted, the bill’s text is likely to direct the FBI and some state agencies that perform background checks to check with state and local law enforcement for juvenile criminal and prohibitive mental health records, when feasible. The deal would require an “investigative period” to conduct that more detailed review. Read more here about what the provision might entail.
Meanwhile, a Senate gun bill could be ready by the end of the week. Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the lead Republican negotiator, said he hopes the bipartisan group can finish draft legislation in the next few days, queuing up a potential floor vote next week, though disagreements could still emerge. “I believe the principles we’ve articulated — if carried out in legislative texts, which I expect them to be — will save lives. That’s our goal,” Cornyn said on June 13. And in a sign of growing support, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is backing the deal. “If the legislation ends up reflecting what the framework indicates, I’ll be supportive,” McConnell said June 14 at a news conference.
Gunmaker Daniel Defense broke campaign finance law, complaint alleges. The company came under scrutiny after one of its rifles was used by the perpetrator of the Uvalde shooting. Last week, a watchdog group, the Campaign Legal Center, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission arguing that the company had violated federal law when it donated $100,000 in 2020 to the Gun Owners Action Fund PAC. That’s because federal law bars federal contractors like Daniel Defense from giving money to federal candidates or PACs, the complaint notes, adding that the gunmaker has received $1.9 million in federal contracts. The company has been a big donor to Republican causes, and also received $3.1 million in federal pandemic aid in 2020. Related from The Trace: Other gun companies received the same assistance, even as gun sales soared.
Perpetrator of workplace shooting reportedly motivated by baseless belief that co-workers were pedophiles. Last week, a man shot four co-workers, three fatally, at a factory in Smithsburg, Maryland. The suspect, Joe Louis Esquivel, later told police that he believed, without apparent evidence, that the people he fired at were pedophiles, according to an arrest warrant. There’s no evidence that the suspect is a QAnon adherent, but conspiracy theories about pedophilia rings have animated followers of the far-right cult to commit violence.
‘Stronger every day’: A documentary looks at recovering from gun violence. Estimates of gun injuries are hard to find. But the most credible numbers — just over 40,000 injuries, according to one — provide the general sense of the problem. And survivors often struggle with health problems and economic woes, as we’ve reported in Chicago and beyond. Tashawn Strother, a community journalist from the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting’s Credible Messenger Reporting Project, hosts a can’t-miss audio documentary sharing her family’s journey after her son, Walter Willis, was shot and critically wounded in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve in 2019. “I’m so glad that he lived,” Tashawn says, “but I’ll say that it’s surviving, it’s not living, because he’s not able to have that normal day to day.” You can listen here. Know someone who has been affected by gun violence in Philadelphia? Check out our Up The Block resource hub.
40 percent — the share of people with incomes under $49,000 in Baltimore who said they feel unsafe in their neighborhoods, according to a poll from the newly launched Baltimore Banner. Twenty-two percent of residents who make over $100,000 said they felt unsafe. Overall, Black residents (58 percent) were 10 percentage points more likely to report feeling unsafe in the city than white residents (48 percent). [The Baltimore Banner]