What To Know Today

People who bought guns during the pandemic appeared to be at a higher risk of having suicidal thoughts. That’s according to a new study published in JAMA Open Network that surveyed 6,404 adults in New Jersey, Minnesota, and Mississippi. People who bought during the gun sales surge from 2020 to 2021 were more likely to have had suicidal ideation than other gun owners or non-gun owners. “This startling fact is even more true for folks who purchased their first ever firearm,” tweeted lead author Mike Anestis, executive director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. The authors noted that in general, gun owners don’t have any higher rates of suicidal ideation than non-gun owners. Looking forward: The researchers write: “This illustrates the need to implement policies and interventions that increase safety among firearm purchasers (e.g. safe firearm storage) as well as those that promote the acquisition of alternative forms of protection (e.g. home alarm systems).” [If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24 hours a day: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.]

Dozens of self-identified law enforcement trainers appear on Oath Keepers member rolls. Scores of law enforcement officials, public servants, and politicians have turned up on a hacked list of nearly 40,000 members of the far-right militia group. A new USA TODAY investigation of that list shows that at least 65 people who signed up as Oath Keepers also identified themselves as law enforcement trainers. “The police officers that are trainers are like the best of the best in their fields,” said Daryl Johnson, a former domestic terrorism specialist at the Department of Homeland Security who has closely tracked the threat from armed extremist groups. “You have people who are in these positions of influence. … The fact that they’re an Oath Keeper and a trainer would carry more weight for recruitment purposes.”

A truck driver unseated one of New Jersey’s most powerful politicians. He ran because he couldn’t get a gun permit. Republican Ed Durr pulled the stunning upset against Democratic state Senate President Steve Sweeney, a longtime political power broker who has been floated as a potential gubernatorial candidate. “What motivated me more than anything to get into politics was not being able to get a concealed carry gun permit,” Durr said recently, noting the state’s particularly tight gun regulation. “I still don’t consider myself a politician.” Ironically, Durr’s defeat of Sweeney could be a boon for Governor Phil Murphy, whose progressive agenda was frequently held up by Sweeney.

For the second time in San Francisco history, an officer was prosecuted for an on-duty homicide. District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced the charges that include voluntary manslaughter against Kenneth Cha, who shot Sean Moore in 2017 while the man was unarmed in his own home. Moore died from his wounds three years later. In a statement, Boudin said the officer “lacked a lawful basis to even arrest” Moore, and that rebuilding community trust “requires us to hold those officers who inflict unlawful violence accountable.”

Ammunition sales help power Visa Outdoor to a massive quarter. The outdoor and shooting sports company, one of the publicly traded gun or ammo companies, recorded a 49 percent rise in shooting sport sales, notching $566 million in the second quarter of the year. Sales were buoyed by a 65 percent growth in ammunition sales.

Data Point

2,700 — the number of currently open FBI investigations into domestic violence extremists, a figure that has more than doubled in the past year, according to Timothy Langan of the FBI’s counterterrorism division. White supremacists and militias “present the most lethal threats,” he said during congressional testimony on Wednesday. [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence]