What To Know Today

NEW: Ask The Trace! Is there something that just doesn’t make sense to you when it comes to guns and gun violence in the United States? A statistic you’ve been searching for, but haven’t been able to locate? We’re reviving our project driven by reader curiosity. You can read past articles from the series on our site, or submit your questions using the form here.

The link between government redlining and high rates of gun violence. The Philadelphia Inquirer took an in-depth look at the neighborhoods where gun violence is concentrated, almost entirely affecting Black and brown residents. There are 57 city blocks where 10 or more people have been shot since 2015. In those areas, the poverty rate is close to double the city average, house-vacancy rates are three times the city average, and life-expectancy rates are about three years lower than the state average. But the link between areas with structural disadvantages and high rates of violence goes back much further: 53 of the same 57 blocks were areas that the federal government labelled as “hazardous” or “declining” in maps from 1937. Such maps were instrumental in the process of redlining, which codified residential segregation. From The Trace: Up The Block is our resource hub for Philadelphians affected by gun violence.

The NRA and its CEO asked to dismiss New York AG’s amended complaint against them. Letitia James filed her updated complaint last month. In a follow-up motion yesterday, Wayne LaPierre’s attorney argued, in part, that James has failed to show that LaPierre is at fault for or knew that financial arrangements he had with the National Rifle Association were improper. In its own motion, attorneys for the NRA argued, in part, that James is blocked from making certain claims in New York state court because they arose during the group’s recent failed bankruptcy. Sean Delany, an attorney specializing in nonprofit law who once led the charities bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office, said the NRA may succeed through its motion in getting the court to foreclose the dissolution option because James has not argued that the NRA is a sham organization with no charitable purpose, the bar for justifying such a severe penalty. But Delany described much of the remaining arguments in both motions as “fantastical” and “subpar” and said the judge will likely let the case against the NRA go forward, with the removal of executives and the board of directors as potential outcomes. “These motions focus exclusively on the steps the defendants have supposedly taken — I would say to evade scrutiny, they would say to clean house,” Delany said, “and do not address the bases for this case having been brought originally.” — Will Van Sant, staff writer

There were 343 mass shootings more than expected during the pandemic. That’s according to a research letter published this week in JAMA Network Open, which analyzed Gun Violence Archive’s count of mass shootings  — defined as four or more injured or killed — from January 1, 2014, through June 30, 2021. Tracking shootings from April 16, 2020, through the end of June 2021, the authors observed that the above average rates of mass shootings led to 217 more deaths and 1,498 more injuries. Over the 15-month period of study, the additional 0.8 mass shootings per day meant 0.5 more people killed and 3.4 more injured per day. The notable increase was “consistent with the notion that mass shootings, an extreme form of violence, may be influenced by social and economic factors,” the researchers wrote, noting the pandemic’s “sudden and additional psychological and financial strains across society.” From The Trace: Rising mass shootings hit Black neighborhoods hardest last year.

DOJ launches review of law enforcement grants to ensure recipients comply with civil rights law. The 90-day review, which Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta announced in a memo yesterday, includes grants to law enforcement agencies, correctional facilities, victim support groups, community organizations, research institutions, and more. The Justice Department’s grant-making arm currently gives out more than $4 billion per year, and the department wants to increase that to $7 billion in the fiscal year 2022.

Data Point

4 — the number of young Philadelphians shot in the past week who were current or recent students at Simon Gratz High School. Only one survived. On Wednesday, Principal Le’Yondo Dunn closed the school for a “day of healing.” [ABC 6 news]