What To Know Today

Cook County’s chief public defender: End the criminalization of gun possession. In an op-ed for The Nation, Sharone Mitchell Jr. lent his support to an amicus brief filed by public defenders against New York’s gun licensing policy, decrying how it’s largely young men of color who are affected when illegal gun possession cases are prosecuted. “Despite the Second Amendment’s claimed protections — that have only expanded in the last 60 years — Black and brown men in New York, Chicago, and other localities around the country aren’t protected like white gun owners: We’re arrested, prosecuted, and warehoused in prisons,” he writes. Mitchell expressed support for many policies of the gun reform movement — including funding community violence intervention, repealing the gun industry’s unique legal protections, and restricting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But he argued that the cost of gun possession prosecutions has been too high for Black and brown communities, while also failing to cut the supply of guns to those areas.

Judge in Rittenhouse murder trial talks jury instructions ahead of closing arguments. Kyle Rittenhouse faces six counts in connection with killing two protesters and injuring a third last August in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On Friday, the judge hearing the trial signaled he would tell jurors that they could weigh whether the 18-year-old Illinois resident provoked his first fatal attack when assessing the teen’s self-defense claims. Judge Bruce Schroeder also indicated he would tell jurors they could consider lesser charges than first-degree intentional homicide against one of the two men Rittenhouse killed. What it means: “You’re giving a buffet of options,” an expert told The Washington Post. “Maybe the jury can’t agree on all things but they compromise on something lower.” Closing arguments in the case begin later this morning.

Newark to dedicate $19M to community-violence intervention. “Mayor Ras Baraka on Friday announced that the three-year investment would include money earmarked for the city through the American Rescue Plan.” Coming soon: A request for proposals from local groups of “community-based public safety projects that will also reduce and prevent violence in our city.” More on Newark from The Trace: Earlier this year, J. Brian Charles reported on the federal oversight of Newark’s police and how advocates and city officials were split on the future of the expensive outside intervention. 

Federal and local law enforcement have recovered ~25K privately made guns since 2016. That’s according to reporting by The New York Times on the national rise in ghost guns, DIY firearms that lack serial numbers. Go deeper: The Trace’s Alain Stephens first reported on the explosion of ghost guns in California in 2019. In August, he wrote that the federal government is increasingly worried about extremists and white supremacist groups using the weapons.

Data Point

86 percent — the share of community violence intervention workers who occasionally or frequently worry about losing their jobs because of a funding lapse, according to a recent survey of groups in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland. [Giffords]