What To Know Today

Americans support using community-led violence intervention to prevent crime. Seventy-six percent of likely voters — including 88 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans — say local and state officials should use money from the American Rescue Plan to fund community-focused violence intervention efforts, according to a survey of 1,153 likely voters by Safer Cities, a progressive nonprofit focusing on public safety. Both hiring more police officers and investing in community programs got favorable ratings from about 80 percent of respondents, though Republicans were far more likely to pick the former and Democrats the latter. Community violence intervention also found bipartisan support when respondents were asked to weigh specific tenets of the programs. For example, 86 percent of respondents (87 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Republicans) were supportive of mentoring and after-school programs for young people at risk of being a perpetrator or victim of gun violence.

The White House is reportedly planning to pull the nomination of David Chipman. Politico and The Washington Post cited sources close to the process of President Joe Biden’s embattled pick to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as the first Senate-confirmed agency head since 2015. With Senate Republicans uniformly opposed to Chipman, his nomination would have required the support of all 50 Senate Democrats. But reporting last month suggested Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, was the key holdout while other Senate moderates including Joe Manchin and Jon Tester were also noncommittal. Politico or The Washington Post did not indicate a timeframe from the White House on any Chipman decision.

The NRA appears in court today about dissident board members wishing to intervene in New York AG’s case. The hearing in New York state court, the National Rifle Association’s first court appearance since the dismissal of its move to bankruptcy, centers on an attempt by two longtime members to intervene in Attorney General Letitia James’s lawsuit against the gun group. The members are critical of NRA leadership and seek reform while opposing the attorney general’s stated intent to dissolve the organization entirely. Citing conflicts of interest, the NRA board members also want the NRA’s outside counsel dismissed from the case. Last week, the lawyer for the two dissident members sent a letter to the Manhattan judge hearing the case that at least one more NRA board director wanted to join the effort. The proceedings will be aired live here (password: 5216). Meanwhile, the NRA and its former PR firm Ackerman McQueen have a new trial date of March 7, 2022, in their ongoing and acrimonious legal battle. 

In California, you can soon dial 988 for a mental health crisis. The state last week approved $20 million to fund the statewide rollout of a number that will direct callers to California’s 13 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers. Federal legislation last year designated the new number as an alternative emergency number to 911. The national hotline connecting callers to suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors is expected to roll out nationwide by next July.

Virginia gun rights group sues reform org for defamation over “domestic terror” designation. The Virginia Citizens Defense League announced the move late last week against the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in civil court in Fairfax County, Virginia. The suit is in response to a press release the gun reform group sent out over the summer including the above language. The suit was first reported by The Reload.

Data Point

8 — the number of states that have not had a mass shooting — defined as four or more people shot — so far this year. Those states include Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. [Gun Violence Archive]