What To Know Today
23 states with “stand your ground” laws saw 8% to 11% increases in monthly rates of gun homicide over 16 years. Proponents of the laws that remove a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force say they make the public safer by deterring would-be attackers, but a new study led by Michelle Degli Esposti of Oxford University and three colleagues found the laws actually correlate to more homicides overall, as well as more gun homicides specifically. The study compared 23 U.S. states that enacted SYG laws between 2000 and 2016, and 18 that did not have them in the same period (excluding the nine remaining states because they could not accurately be sorted into either group with sufficient data). They found large regional differences, with many SYG states in the South — including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Missouri — seeing increases in violent deaths rise by as much as 33.5 perfect, while similar laws in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia were not associated with any difference. “These findings suggest that adoption of SYG laws across the U.S. was associated with increases in violent deaths, deaths that could potentially have been avoided,” the authors wrote. More evidence: A RAND Corporation metastudy published in 2020 found “supportive” evidence that SYG laws corresponded with increases in gun homicides.
Suspect in Portland, Oregon, charged with murder over protest shooting. The Multnomah DA’s Office on Tuesday charged city resident Benjamin Smith, 43, with murder, attempted murder, and several other violations for allegedly shooting five protesters last Saturday night, including one fatally. In addition to the deceased — 60-year-old Brandy “June” Knightly — one victim was “paralyzed from the neck down.” Smith remains hospitalized and in critical condition after a protester allegedly shot him in self-defense. Though that protester was initially detained, OPB reports that the DA’s Office decided not to charge them and that court records indicated they were licensed to carry a gun.
Vermont governor vetoes background check legislation fixing the so-called Charleston loophole. Under current federal law, a gun sale automatically proceeds if a background check isn’t completed within three days. On Tuesday, Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed a Legislature-passed measure that would have extended the amount of time that a background check could take before a sale would automatically proceed in the state, setting the new limit at 30 days. Scott said the 30-day period was “excessive and unreasonable for law-abiding citizens,” but offered to support an amended bill that extended the default period to seven days. The Vermont Legislature is controlled by Democrats, who may have enough votes to make the issue moot by overriding the governor’s veto.
Louisiana officers fired and charged with manslaughter for shooting a man who wouldn’t get out of his car. Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III of Jefferson Parish said two of his officers’ use of deadly force was “not justified” when they fatally shot 34-year-old Daniel Vallee last Wednesday after a 12-minute standoff just south of New Orleans. The officers were responding to a noise complaint, and found Vallee inside a vehicle. Police said he refused to get out of the car, and eventually started the car’s engine; two of five responding officers allegedly opened fire when Vallee hit the horn. Lopinto said the shooting was the first to be captured by body cameras since the department started using them last year. Vallee’s family said he wasn’t a violent person but a man struggling with addiction. “That doesn’t mean he should have been shot and killed in the manner that he was,” his aunt told NOLA.com last week.
Jurors find three white men guilty of federal hate crimes for killing Ahmaud Arbery. After just a few hours of deliberation, a jury on Tuesday determined Gregory McMichael, Travis McMichael, and William Bryan were guilty of hate crimes and attempted kidnapping for intentionally targeting the 25-year-old on account of his race before killing him in Georgia in 2020. The McMichaels were also found guilty of brandishing or discharging a gun in a violent crime. The three men were previously convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison by a state court.
At least 19 — the number of police officers in Austin, Texas, facing criminal charges for alleged use of excessive force on protesters in 2020. [The Washington Post]