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New research by the Counter Extremism Project warns that white supremacists in the U.S., Canada, and Europe are using a new recruiting tactic: establishing fitness and combat clubs that advertise self-improvement and brotherhood while pushing racist narratives behind the scenes. The goal, per the author of the report, is to “build a militia undercover” that’s prepared to participate in a race war. [VOA]

From Our Team

How will Philadelphia’s 100th mayor address the city’s gun violence crisis?

That’s what grassroots anti-violence activists want to hear about before the November 7 election. But to date, reports The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean, just one debate has been scheduled between presumed front-runner Cherelle Parker, the Democrat, and David Oh, the Republican. During the one-off scheduled for October 26, the candidates’ views on countering gun violence will likely compete for time with talk of gentrification, school reform, and the stagnant opioid crisis, among other issues. 

Having only one debate, some community members said, would deprive Philadelphians of the opportunity to learn exactly how the city’s next chief executive proposes to combat an issue that’s top of mind for many residents. “It feels like, to a lot of people, that the city’s just not a safe place right now,” said the Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler. “So, I would really be interested in knowing what their philosophical belief is in what makes the city safe.”

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

President Joe Biden officially announced the launch of the country’s first federal office focused solely on preventing gun violence. The effort will be overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris. [Associated Press] Context: Since before Biden’s inauguration, gun reform groups have been calling for a federal office focused solely on stopping shootings.

As prosecutions of Donald Trump move forward, violent threats by supporters of the former president have intensified. Scholars, security experts, and law enforcement officials are concerned that the threats could develop into riots or lone-wolf attacks. [The New York Times]

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, a notoriously gun-friendly judge based in San Diego, struck down a California law banning gun owners from having detachable magazines that hold more than 10 rounds; Benitez first struck down the law in 2017, before his ruling was reversed in an appeals court. California Attorney General Rob Bonta is fighting the decision, and the ban is likely to remain in effect while the case plays out. [The San Diego Union-Tribune

How long does it take to heal from a mass shooting? For residents of Roseburg, Oregon, where a mass shooter killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in 2015, eight years hasn’t proved long enough. [CNN

Residents of a homeless camp in Oakland, California, called on the city to address violence against unhoused communities, with one person saying: “It feels like the encampment is a shooting range.” One homeless activist noted that “housing is violence prevention.” [The Oaklandside

Police in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., have yet to solve the 2007 shooting of a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, after the death of another vocal Kremlin critic in the District, the victim wants to change the way alleged international violence is investigated. [Politico]  

How did assault-style weapons make it into millions of American homes? As the authors of “American Gun” tell it, the story of the AR-15 is “a Frankenstein tale,” The Trace’s Mike Spies writes in a review of the new book. [The New York Times]  

National Rifle Association board member Willes Lee spent years defending the pro-gun group in court and championing its top bosses. Now, Lee has publicly turned against the NRA’s leadership, claiming in social media posts that he was retaliated against for not complying when “told to do things and to keep the real reason secret.” The denunciations prompted the New York Attorney General’s Office to ask for a second crack at deposing Lee in its lawsuit over the NRA’s alleged “self-dealing, mismanagement and waste of charitable assets.” — Will Van Sant


Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the NRA: The organization’s leadership is focused on external threats, but the real crisis is of its own making. (April 2019)