What To Know Today
Philadelphia’s chronic shootings spur local demonstration, calls for urgent action. Year-over-year homicides are up 26 percent, an alarming number of kids have been caught in the crossfire, and city leaders are warning about a record-breaking year for homicides by the end of 2021. Amid those bleak statistics, community leaders over the weekend hosted a peace march featuring a drumline and scores of city residents. “I feel like it’s going to help us come together to understand one another and understand that we’re stronger together. We can’t do it alone,” said Kiana Farlow, a police officer and march organizer. “Our community marched today for all the children we’ve lost to gun violence. Now it’s time for the city to do its part,” said City Council Member Jamie Gauthier, whose district represents the Southwest community where the march took place. Last fall, Gauthier spearheaded a push to have the mayor declare gun violence a city emergency. (You can read more about that effort in our weekly newsletter from last month.) The mayor has so far resisted that step, but last week started the first of a regular series of biweekly gun violence briefings. A related call for peace: Last week, a group of Black clergy announced a multifaceted plan to address gun violence that includes using a public-private partnership to raise $100 million for community-based solutions. ICYMI: Earlier this month, Trace community outreach editor Sabrina Iglesias introduced our Up the Block project, a resource hub for Philadelphia residents affected by gun violence.
After Atlanta, will more governments consider adopting waiting periods? The perpetrator of the three spa shootings allegedly purchased the handgun he used the same day as the attacks, as Georgia is one of 40 states that don’t require waiting periods after a gun buyer passes a background check. Democratic lawmakers in the state now plan to introduce legislation to change that. “I think a waiting period just makes sense,” David Wilkerson, the minority whip in Georgia’s House, told the Associated Press. The outlet reports that legislators in at least four other states have introduced laws that would enact or strengthen waiting periods after 2020’s record year for gun buying. Do they work? A 2020 RAND Corporation meta-analysis found that waiting periods may decrease suicide and violent crime, but that evidence was inconclusive regarding the effect on mass shootings.
“Special meeting” of the NRA’s board of directors set for next weekend. The event, scheduled in Dallas on Sunday, comes two weeks after a previously scheduled meeting related to questions about the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy was canceled. “The purpose of the meeting is to provide a legal briefing to the Board regarding the NRA’s plan of reorganization and other pending matters,” a new internal notice reads. The meeting of the gun group’s 76-member board comes after Phillip Journey, a Kansas judge and board member, asked a federal bankruptcy court to appoint an independent examiner to investigate the gun group’s executive leadership. As we reported last week, Journey has since found an ally on the board in Rocky Marshall.
Art imitating life: Gun violence in TV dramas mirrored the rising real-world share of homicides attributable to guns. That’s according to an analysis of 33 prime-time dramas from 2000 through 2018 by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The study found that overall instances of gun violence in TV dramas doubled in that period, while gun violence as a proportion of all violence in shows also rose significantly. “We recognize that it is unlikely that exposure to TV content is the major source of the longstanding higher rate of gun victimization in youth,” the authors write. “However, our findings do add to concerns that the growing presence of guns in entertainment media contributes to their use, an association especially evident in young people.”
📺Watch📺: Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on gun violence prevention. Democratic committee chair Senator Richard Durbin is hosting the event tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST. There are eight witnesses, four for each party. The list and livestream details can be found here.
43 — the number of current or former first responders or military veterans among the more than 300 arrests made following the Capitol insurrection. At least four current and three former police officers are among those facing federal charges. [USA Today]