What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: The White House attempts to reassure gun reform advocates. In response to mounting criticism that President Joe Biden has failed to reduce gun violence, the administration is providing the first details about its policy team. The White House is releasing a fact sheet today that doubles down on the administration’s “comprehensive” violence reduction strategy. “The solutions to gun violence are interdisciplinary,” wrote Stefanie Feldman, senior adviser to the director of the Domestic Policy Council, in defense of the administration’s approach. For what the White House’s statement leaves out, The Trace’s Chip Brownlee has this exclusive report.
A gun company facing several civil suits is linked to the proliferation of ghost guns in Los Angeles. Polymer80, a Nevada-based company that sells unserialized ghost gun kits, is a major player in the profusion of homemade, untraceable firearms. It was also previously raided by ATF agents and faced a number of civil suits and state subpoenas related to its alleged facilitation of illegal gun business. The company defends the legality of its business, but a new NBC report shows 1,722 of 1,921 ghost guns — nearly 90 percent — recovered by the Los Angeles Police Department last year were made from Polymer80 kits. Related from The Trace: In 2019, we first reported on the growing recovery of ghost guns at crime scenes across California.
Families of victims decry the lack of Black homicide detectives in Kansas City, Missouri. While 28 percent of the city is Black, just 9 percent of its homicide detectives are, according to The Kansas City Star. The families of violent crime victims told Star reporters that the lack of diversity diminished their trust in law enforcement. And data from the prosecutor’s office of surrounding Jackson County points to evidence of imbalances in the justice system: The homicide unit sends 51 percent of cases to county prosecutors when victims are Black men, compared to 73 percent of cases with victims who are white women. “The problem is just an overall faith in our system to be legitimate,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. “We’re not trusted to handle the problem.” Related from The Trace: The experience of Marilyn Thompson, a Black police officer in Arkansas.
Vermont governor signs compromise bill to fix the so-called Charleston loophole. Under federal law, if a background check isn’t completed within three days, the gun sale automatically proceeds. Last month, Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed a Legislature-backed measure that would have extended the window to 30 days. Scott said that period was “excessive and unreasonable for law-abiding citizens,” but supported an amended bill that extended the default period to seven days. After key Democratic senators agreed to that change, the governor signed that bill into law on Friday. The bill also bans firearms at hospitals and reverses Scott’s previous ban on out-of-state residents bringing high-capacity magazines into the state for shooting competitions.
3 — the number of Kansas City police captains and majors who are Black, of 50 and 21, respectively. [The Kansas City Star]