What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: The American Rescue Plan is officially funding gun violence prevention. The Oregon county that encompasses Portland is set to boost spending on gun violence prevention by millions of dollars in fiscal year 2022, making it one of the first localities in the country to use money from President Joe Biden’s signature coronavirus relief package to shore up anti-violence work. “We see the American Rescue Plan funding as a way to address these issues that have been exacerbated by COVID,” including the poverty and inequity that often drive gun violence, said Raffaele Timarchi, policy adviser to the chair of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. The board voted June 3 on how to divvy up the $157 million the county received as part of the stimulus, unanimously earmarking $4.6 million for violence prevention. Activists in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, and several other cities experiencing increases in shootings have likewise pushed local leaders to steer portions of the $1.9 trillion rescue package toward community-led gun violence prevention efforts. You can read Jennifer Mascia’s piece on Multnomah County’s efforts here.
Do you know of any other counties, cities, or states that are spending ARP funds on gun violence prevention? Let us know by sending a note to [email protected].
The Biden administration unveils a major new strategy to combat domestic terrorism. The 32-page plan is a step toward fulfilling President Joe Biden’s early pledge to refocus the country’s counterterrorism priorities on the domestic violent extremists who have long posed a more lethal threat than international actors. The administration’s plan stops short of calling for a new domestic terrorism laws, as some prosecutors and even the president himself have previously called for. Instead, it suggests bolstering existing methods of combating extremism, including hiring more analysts, improving screening for would-be government employees, and expanding information-sharing with tech companies. “We cannot ignore this threat or wish it away,” Biden wrote in the document.
Guns from the military frequently vanish — and end up used in crimes. An investigation from the Associated Press found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, and at least some later reappeared in connection with violent crimes. Rifles accounted for nearly 1,200 of the missing weapons, followed by nearly 700 handguns. The AP believes its tally is a significant undercount due to the Pentagon’s suppression of basic information. A review of records from the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force show pistols, machine guns, shotguns, and automatic assault rifles vanishing through unlocked doors, or as troops slept. One weapon was used in four shootings in Albany, New York, and the Army didn’t even know it was missing. The report also found that the Army lost some 1,300 firearms during the last decade, despite its second-ranking law enforcement official initially copping to only a few hundred missing guns.
The AP will stop naming suspects accused of minor crimes where further coverage is unlikely. The new guidance reads in part: “The names of suspects are generally not newsworthy beyond their local communities. We will not link from these stories to others that do name the person, and we will not move mugshots in these cases, since the accused would be identifiable by that photo as well.” The move is part of a broader media trend to investigate the unintended — but undeniable — consequences of traditional crime reporting. AP reporter Farnoush Amiri, tweeting about the change, said, “This is an effort to minimize harm on suspects who later gain employment or just move on in their lives.”
A mass shooting in Chicago left four people dead. Four others were also injured in the early morning shooting on Tuesday during a party in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood. The death toll was the highest from a shooting since last month’s incident at a rail yard in San Jose, California, that left 10 dead. Related: In the latest workplace shooting, this time at a fire hydrant plant in Alabama, a 34-year-old employee killed two co-workers and wounded two others during an early shift on Tuesday. The suspect was later found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot.
Another person was killed over a coronavirus-related mask dispute. A 30-year-old at an Atlanta-area grocery store fatally shot a cashier following an argument about wearing his face mask. The perpetrator also grazed another cashier and wounded an off-duty sheriff’s deputy before being shot in return fire and apprehended. It was at least the 20th shooting tied to pandemic restrictions since we began tracking these incidents last spring. At least five people have died and 13 have been wounded by our count.
54 — the number of lives lost to gun violence in the U.S. per day through the first five months of 2021. That’s 14 more deaths per day than the average over the last six years, and higher than last year’s already elevated rate. [The Washington Post]