What To Know Today

Capitol Police warn of “possible plot” by a militia group targeting the U.S. Capitol. The agency said it had received intelligence about a planned breach at the building today, and that it was “aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex.” The statement followed a related internal intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday. As a result of the Capitol Police warning, the House decided yesterday to push up votes and adjourn for the week. The Senate is still planning to be in session today. A QAnon link? Some supporters of the far-right conspiracy theory baselessly believe that today, March 4, is when Donald Trump will return to power. NBC reporter Ben Collins, a leading expert on the movement and the online far-right, noted: “Nobody knows what will happen, but here’s what we do know: There is considerably less public organization and open threats on the Capitol than there was in the run-up to 1/6. It’s not comparable.”

Domestic violence prevention advocates report an increase in gun-related threats during the pandemic. About half of respondents said that abusers threatening to shoot survivors had become a bigger problem since last March, according to a survey developed in collaboration with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The poll, conducted between September and December 2020, includes responses from 222 professionals who serve survivors of gender-based violence. More than 50 percent of respondents also reported that women survivors of color were a greater risk than white women survivors to experience assault, harassment, and gun violence. Overall, 84 percent of respondents said they believe that intimate partner violence increased during the pandemic, a finding that echoes a review of more than a dozen studies that showed domestic violence incidents spiking by 8 percent after pandemic-related lockdowns went into effect last year.

The U.S. House passes sweeping police reform bill. Among other provisions, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act curbs “qualified immunity,” which shields police from being sued for their actions on the job, creates a national database of police misconduct and use-of-force incidents, and authorizes new grant funding for community public safety programs. The legislation now faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

Arkansas gets its own “stand your ground” law. Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the measure that removes a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force, making Arkansas the 29th state with a comparable policy. Several other states are also considering the laws. What the studies say: A recent review found no evidence that stand your ground policies deter violent crime, while a RAND Corporation metastudy found the laws were associated with increases in homicides and gun homicides. 

Open carry bill moves forward in South Carolina. Lawmakers in the state’s House are set to begin debate on legislation that would allow permitted handgun carriers to display firearms openly. South Carolina is currently one of just five states — along with California, Florida, Illinois, and New York, as well as Washington, D.C. — that doesn’t allow open carry.

🎧 Listen: The Second Amendment and Black Americans 🎧 Lakeidra Chavis appeared on Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly Disrupted show to discuss the issue and her recent reporting.

Data Point

9 — the number of people killed in domestic terror attacks inspired by misogynist ideology in the post-9/11 era. In 2019, Jennifer Mascia reported on the mix of guns and violent misogyny. [New America Foundation]