What To Know Today
The NRA filed counterclaims against New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleging political interference. The gun group said that her drive to dissolve the group is “an abuse of nonprofit laws to silence a political enemy.” Echoing arguments it has made before, the National Rifle Association charged that James defamed it by calling it a “terrorist organization” and sought to weaponize the powers of her office to weaken the NRA in advance of the 2020 election. The group said it could find no instance of the state Attorney General’s Office, while headed by James or any of her predecessors, ever having sought to dissolve a nonprofit based on alleged wrongdoing by executives. In January, NRA boss Wayne LaPierre announced that the group was filing for bankruptcy to escape “the toxic political environment in New York” and planning a move to Texas. — Will Van Sant, staff writer
Stand-your-ground laws don’t reduce violent crime, study review finds. Twenty-eight states have statutes that remove a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force, and several others are considering them. Proponents of the laws say they make the public safer through a deterrent effect, but a systematic review of existing research conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford disputes that. In some cases, the review found, the laws may be associated with small increases in crime. The evidence mounts: A RAND Corporation metastudy published last year found “supportive” evidence that stand-your-ground laws are associated with an increase in firearm homicides. I asked Rosanna Smart, the lead author of the RAND assessment, for her reaction to the Oxford research. “It’s nice to see that they reach similar conclusions,” she said. “These laws seem to be associated with increases in firearm homicide, and potentially other violent crimes. But overall, it does not appear that these laws are particularly effective in reducing violent crime broadly.” — Chip Brownlee, Trace investigative fellow
The disproportionate toll of gun violence, according to the most up-to-date CDC figures. A new analysis of federal data by two gun reform advocacy groups shows the outsize effect of gun violence on Black Americans. In 2019, Black men aged 15 to 34 made up 37 percent of the nation’s more than 14,000 gun homicide victims — despite accounting for just 2 percent of the population. That’s 20 times the rate of gun homicides experienced by white men in the same age range. Among all groups, Black men and women were at the highest risk of gun homicide. Community anti-violence groups have pushed the Biden administration to pursue policies that center the Black and Brown communities most affected by the gun violence epidemic.
Domestic violence increased as a result of pandemic lockdowns. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, experts warned that economic strain, surging firearm sales, and social isolation could have grave consequences for domestic abuse victims. Now, a new review of a dozen studies shows that domestic violence incidents spiked by 8 percent after jurisdictions imposed pandemic-related lockdowns. The study was conducted by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice.
The House reintroduces 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 anti-violence programs. It passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate, then controlled by Republicans. The bill is expected to pass the House again as early as next week.
CORRECTION: An entry in Tuesday’s newsletter cited a story by The Intercept which incorrectly stated that 2020’s surge in gun sales may have provided “half a million more weapons available for use in crimes.” In coming to that figure, the authors stated that figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed that 10 percent of all guns are used in a crime within six months of purchase. But the ATF data referred only to crime guns, not all guns. We have updated that edition of the Bulletin on our website to reflect changes made to the original article.
4x — the gun homicide rate in majority Black, middle-class neighborhoods compared to majority white ones, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania researchers. [Jama Open Network]