What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Could gun restrictions modeled on Texas’s anti-abortion law work? Texas’s new statute banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected involves a novel workaround: The state won’t enforce the ban, but private citizens can sue anyone who aided in violating the law. Plaintiffs stand to receive at least $10,000 from any defendant found liable, prompting legal experts to dub it a “bounty” law. A reader named Robin asks, “Word has it that the New York Legislature is writing a law like Texas with abortion, but for guns. Is it true, and can it work?” In the latest installment of Ask The Trace, Jennifer Mascia spoke with two legal experts to help make sense of efforts in three states so far, and the potential broader consequences of emulating the Texas law.

Voters’ views on public safety are broader than policing. But key partisan differences remain. A new survey conducted by Safer Cities, a progressive nonprofit focusing on public safety, polled likely voters about whether various policies would make communities safer. Policies that drew net support across party affiliation included: solving serious crimes like shootings to ensure accountability and deterrence (+78 net support); ensuring high-crime areas are better lit to deter violence (+73 net support); having a strong policing presence in high-crime areas (+66); providing access for mental health and addiction treatment (+58); and ensuring that families have affordable and safe housing (+54). The only policy that a net of both Democrats and independents supported (+34 together), but not Republicans, was providing guaranteed income to struggling families as a means to tackle the root causes that can allow violence to fester. Black voters were the most likely to support non-policing public safety options, but also registered strong net support for several law enforcement solutions. “The public’s conception of public safety is clearly more expansive than police and prosecution,” said Safer Cities’ Matt Ferner about the topline findings. “That said, unmistakably, the conception of public safety as the police doing the crime fighting is especially resonant for Republicans.” 

Boogaloo believer who allegedly planned to attack state Capitol sentenced for possessing “auto sears.” Minnesota resident Michael Dahlager, 27, was sentenced to two years after pleading guilty to possessing the devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to fire in full-auto. Prosecutors alleged that the adherent to the anti-government ideology planned to attack the Minnesota State Capitol on January 17, 2021. Dahlager allegedly wanted to kill law enforcement but correctly suspected an informant had infiltrated his group and called off the attack. After arresting Dahlager, police found an arsenal of weapons including a sniper rifle, and scouting video he’d taken of the Capitol. Auto sear recoveries on the rise: Last year, officials reported finding more of the devices in metropolitan areas from the Twin Cities to Washington, D.C.

Oakland follows other California cities, bans ghost guns. On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the possession, manufacture, sale, or transfer of the unserialized homemade guns and unfinished firearm receivers. The action follows similar actions taken in Vallejo, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Alain Stephens first wrote about the explosion in ghost guns at crime scenes in the state in 2019.

Data Point

$224 million — funding designated for gun violence prevention in New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s $216-billion budget plan. The proposal significantly ramps up funding for the state’s SNUG outreach program to $24.9 million and adds $20 million in new direct funding to communities that have borne the brunt of elevated gun violence. [Office of Governor Hochul]