What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Gun deaths reached an all-time high in 2021. Fatal shootings and suicides surged across the United States, reaching 48,832 in the pandemic’s second year. The toll is the highest single-year tally on record, up 8 percent from 2020, which previously held the record. The provisional data was published in July by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and suggest that firearms deaths haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. Jennifer Mascia explores the data in her latest piece for The Trace.

Shooting near shuttered Robb Elementary shakes Uvalde. Two people were injured at the city’s Memorial Park, just over a mile from the scene of the May school shooting. The Texas Department of Public Safety in a statement said the incident was “gang related,” and the Uvalde Police Department said four people are in custody. The incident came two days after students in the Uvalde returned to school after the murder of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary. “A lot of kids were ducking and diving again,” said Celeste Ibarra, who was at the park with her daughter, a survivor of the May mass shooting. “It was horrible.”

A federal court reversed its decision finding California’s under-21 semiautomatic rifle ban unconstitutional. In a small win for California’s strict gun laws, a federal appeals court on Wednesday vacated a prior ruling from May that found the state’s ban on sales of semiautomatic rifles to adults under 21 violated the U.S. Constitution. In its new order, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to a lower court judge who previously refused to block the ban. The court’s brief order may only be a temporary victory for California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is defending the ban. The lower court will now rehear the case in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, which, as The Trace has reported, significantly expanded gun rights and directed federal courts to evaluate Second Amendment claims in a way that is structurally more favorable to gun rights arguments.

In a separate case, gun groups asked a court to block California’s new gun litigation law. The law, SB 1327, is modeled, in part, on Texas’s abortion bounty law. In addition to allowing private citizens to sue people who make or sell guns the state prohibits — with a minimum $10,000 award — it also contains a provision that aimed to limit court challenges against the state’s gun laws. Section 2 of SB 1327 allows state officials to seek legal fees from plaintiffs who challenge the state’s gun laws if any of their claims are unsuccessful, meaning that plaintiffs could have to pay the state’s legal fees even if a court strikes down the law they challenged. A coalition of gun rights groups asked a federal court to block that section of the law before it goes into effect in 2023.

Hundreds of law enforcement and military personnel identified in new report on Oath Keepers leak. The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism examined more than 38,000 names from the extremist militia group’s leaked membership and donor lists, identifying more than 370 people working in law enforcement agencies and more than 100 people in the military. It also found more than 80 people running for or serving in public office. The new report adds to previous efforts by numerous news organizations to scour the leaked data.

University of Maryland, Baltimore launches gun violence center. The Center for Violence Prevention aims to bring together the expertise and resources of the university’s schools of medicine, social work, and law, along with the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center to reduce and respond to gun violence in Baltimore and elsewhere. “Using our resources combined with the families and communities affected by violence is how we begin to start solving this problem,” said UMB President Bruce Jarrell.

Data Point

Two-thirds  — the proportion of voters in the swing state of Michigan who say they support stricter gun laws, per a new EPIC-MRA poll. [WOODTV]