Good morning, Bulletin readers. Leading your Monday roundup: Ann Givens’s dispatch from the Louisiana bayou, where a domestic violence survivor has turned her tiny police force into a national model for keeping guns out of the hands of abusive partners.
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NEW from THE TRACE: This tiny police force is a national leader in taking guns from abusers. Law enforcement officer Valerie Martinez came to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to escape her violent ex-husband. During the years since her exodus, she has worked with the local Republican sheriff to pioneer innovative tactics for protecting other women by ensuring abusers don’t have access to firearms. She’s also encouraged larger jurisdictions across the gun-friendly state to adopt her methods. Martinez’s story shows how much committed individuals can do to improve public safety. Ann Givens has the details, in a feature article published in partnership with The Daily Beast.
Seven people were wounded when a gun misfired at a Houston dance hall. A man’s handgun reportedly slipped from his pocket at the venue, shooting someone in the leg. Six others were wounded when the bullet ricocheted. The gun owner was detained.
White supremacists are a bigger danger than ISIS, says state threat assessment. In its annual report, New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness ranked homegrown violent extremists and white supremacist extremists far above Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, and other foreign terrorist groups. Last year, the department labeled the threat from white supremacist extremists as moderate, but that changed “due to the number of threats, plots, and attacks conducted in 2019, including the El Paso attack.”
Gun companies try a lighter touch in their marketing. The New York Times surveyed manufacturers of guns and accessories at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas earlier this month and several acknowledged that the industry needed to attract more buyers outside its core demographic of older, white men. That includes moving away from hypermasculine branding and publicly embracing safety issues. A spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation offered an analogy: “I don’t think Harley-Davidson is trying to sell Harley-Davidsons to just Harley owners. They’re trying to convince the person who drives a car to see what it’s like to ride on two wheels.”
Virginia Senate and House agreed on a reconciled version of a red flag bill. The lower chamber’s bill required a search warrant to be served at the same time as an emergency risk protection order; in the version that will advance, police would first give the subject of the order a chance to surrender their guns.
Chicago mayor pledges to expand promising youth violence intervention program. The Choose to Change initiative provides students at a higher risk of becoming involved in gun violence with mentoring, therapy, and activities. Students who participated in a six-month pilot had 32 percent fewer misconduct incidents than those who didn’t, researchers found. Lori Lightfoot said Friday that the city would fund the Choose to Change on a multi-year basis, helping it offer services to 2,000 young people over the next three years.
Only 15 states have laws requiring convicted domestic abusers to turn in their guns. —The Trace