What To Know Today
New York Mayor Eric Adams is upping his rhetoric on illegal guns ahead of a presidential visit. At a press conference on Monday, Adams compared efforts to combat surging gun violence to the War on Terror. “We stopped terrorism by combining our city, state, and federal agencies,” Adams said. “Why didn’t we do it with the terror that is playing out on our streets every day?” Some 90 percent of recovered crime guns in the city come from outside the state — most from states with looser gun regulations, a fact that President Joe Biden and Adams are sure to discuss later this week. But the two leaders, who are under increasing pressure to get a handle on surging shootings, may also discuss Adams’s request for more federal involvement in prosecuting gun crimes in the city itself. In his recently unveiled Blueprint to End Gun Violence, Adams called on federal prosecutors to pursue more unlawful-possession cases, a move he explicitly linked to federal courts’ ability to hand down harsher sentences. That move, among others in his plan, has prompted criticism from justice reform advocates. For the past decade, more than 90 percent of people arrested in New York for unlicensed firearm possession were Black or Latino, and advocates fear a return to “tough on crime” policies would worsen the outsized effects on communities of color. — Chip Brownlee, reporter
Using youth summer jobs programs to reduce gun violence. As part of his public safety plan, Adams called for a major expansion of the city’s youth summer jobs program to employ up to 250,000 young people. Research has shown the programs can be very successful in preventing violence, and in a commentary for The Wall Street Journal, policy expert Charles Fain Lehman argued that New York’s program should be a model to both expand that violence-reducing potential and provide important data for researchers who want to understand their impact. “The better we understand how these programs prevent crime, the more crime they will prevent,” he wrote. “With the right access, researchers can experiment with program design, identifying the effects of, say, cognitive behavioral therapy or a personal mentor on the propensity to offend.” That Lehman, of the conservative Manhattan Institute, advocates for the policy is a reminder that there is often greater cross-ideological agreement on policies that address root causes of gun violence without focusing primarily on gun access.
The significance of the ATF holding its first ever trade show for gun ballistics companies to spotlight their products. The industry day event for companies that do ballistics comparisons on February 8 and 9 is notable because experts say it’s a first step toward the ATF opening up a contracting process that has exclusively gone to one Canadian company, Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology. As Ann Givens reported in November, that’s despite the fact that a 2015 internal report recommended opening the contract up in order to bring down prices and allow more police departments to access the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a database that helps police track crime guns. Our reporting also showed that several former ATF officials, including the interim director running the agency when the contract was renewed in 2019, went on to work for Ultra Electronics.
About those armed “quick reaction forces” Oath Keepers allegedly planned for the insurrection… Ryan Reilly reports for HuffPost on what court documents say about the group’s alleged plan to have teams ferry guns and other weapons into Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, as other members participated in upending the peaceful transfer of power to incoming President Biden. Part of the scheme allegedly included trying to get a boat to transport the guns from Virginia into the district, where guns are heavily restricted. “This entire plan seemed premised on the notion that law enforcement would have been more prepared for Jan. 6 and may have cut off bridge access,” Reilly tweeted about his story.
An NRA board member was among 14 people subpoenaed by the January 6th committee. The House body investigating the Capitol insurrection on Friday issued letters to people who had falsely claimed to be electors for former President Donald Trump in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election. One of those was Bill Bachenberg of Pennsylvania, a retired data industry CEO who has been on the gun group’s board since 2005 and runs a sporting clays company.
25 — the number of state attorneys general signed on to an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to take up Bianchi v. Frosh, a challenge to Maryland’s ban on assault weapons. The Republican AGs are betting on the 6-3 conservative court’s willingness to hear major gun cases after it took on a public carry case in New York with potentially huge ramifications for gun laws. [The Supreme Court]