What to Know Today

Texas public schools will distribute DNA kits to families. The Texas Legislature passed a law in 2021 requiring the state education agency to send K-8 public schools in-home fingerprint and DNA identification cards. The schools can distribute these to parents and guardians who want their child’s information accessible in an emergency. Some have found the program unsettling, the Houston Chronicle reported, particularly following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in May. After the massacre, law enforcement asked families to provide DNA samples to help identify the children’s bodies. “When you put it in the light of Uvalde, it’s one of the most macabre things you could think about,” said Bob Sanborn, president of the nonprofit Children at Risk. 

New York AG and governor release results of investigation into role of online platforms in Buffalo shooting. The report found that 4chan and former Reddit communities were integral to the Tops supermarket shooter’s radicalization, that the shooter used Twitch to encourage copycat attacks, and that memes helped him learn about the “great replacement theory.” In response to the findings, New York Attorney General Letitia James proposed adding legal restrictions to livestreaming and recommended that internet service providers refuse service to sites that perpetuate the cycle of white supremacist violence.

Georgia gubernatorial candidates spar over gun policy. At a debate on Monday night, incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams showed the vast divide between their gun policy positions. Earlier this year, Kemp signed a law allowing anyone in the state to carry a firearm without a license; the governor said in the debate that loosening gun restrictions has helped citizens protect themselves. Abrams has stated that she would repeal that law, and on Monday blamed Kemp’s gun policies for the increase in violent crime in Georgia, Axios reported. 

Oregon ballot initiative would require firearm training before gun purchase. If passed, Measure 114 would instate some of the country’s strictest gun regulations, The Oregonian reports. The measure would require a permit to purchase a gun, a process that includes paying a fee covering the cost of a background check, completing a gun safety course, and passing a background check stricter than the current one. State police could deny a permit if the applicant “poses a danger to self or others.” The initiative would also ban the sale or transfer of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. In a recent poll, The Oregonian found that 51 percent of likely Oregon voters were in favor of the measure. Would it stick? Permit-to-purchase gun licensing systems, like the one proposed in Measure 114, weren’t addressed in Bruen — but they may still be ripe for a legal challenge.

“Constitutional sheriff” movement, launched by Second Amendment activist, gains ground. So-called constitutional sheriffs believe that their authority allows them to refuse to enforce the state and federal laws they disagree with. A new survey by The Marshall Project revealed that nearly half of responding sheriffs were on board. The movement gained prominence in the law enforcement community thanks to Richard Mack — a former sheriff and Oath Keepers board member, and the founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. Mack’s early focus on gun rights, The Marshall Project reported, was prescient: Of the 500 sheriffs who responded to the survey, 79 percent said that gun laws should be less strict than they are today.

Data Point

7 — the average number of children killed by firearm per day in 2021. [Kaiser Family Foundation]