Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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A patch reads "Boogaloo" on the bag of a armed protester in Oregon, on May 2, 2020. [Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images]

Daily Bulletin: Congressional Panel Gets Warning on ‘Boogaloo’ Violence

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Congressional panel gets a warning about “boogaloo” violence. A hearing on extremist threats convened by the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism included federal lawmakers’ first public discussion of the loose anti-government movement, which links diehard opposition to gun control with the belief that a second civil war is on the horizon. In her testimony, JJ MacNab, a fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, raised concerns that militia members looking to accelerate societal dissolution would use this summer’s demonstrations to further their cause. “I am concerned that there will be a shootout at one or more of the Black Lives Matter protests,” MacNab said. “There are too many guns at these events held by too many groups with conflicting goals.” A case in Pennsylvania is the latest with boogaloo overtones. Friend of the Trace Nick Martin, who publishes The Informant, unearthed social media clues that a man indicted in federal court over a plot to blow up government buildings could have been inspired by boogaloo rhetoric. The slew of charges against the man include illegal firearm possession.

A city goes to court to clamp down on militia activity. Last month, a protester in Albuquerque was shot during a rally to remove the statute of Spanish conquistador. In the lead up, a militia called the New Mexico Civil Guard had led an armed patrol in the area. The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office this week sued the group for violating state laws against unauthorized paramilitary activity, arguing, “By appearing armed and uniformed at such events, NMCG creates a risk that its members will be mistaken for authorized police or military personnel, confusing members of the public and complicating the efforts of law enforcement to respond to any unrest…” Former Justice Department official Mary McCord, who has highlighted the power local officials have to restrict militia activity, advised the county on the suit. From the archives: In 2018, The Trace previewed the legal blueprint McCord and others were developing to curtail armed militias, even in states where open carry is allowed.

By the numbers: the case of the redeployed cops. Fatal shootings are up 67 percent in New York City, and some community leaders think the department has slowed down crime fighting efforts in reaction to ongoing protests against police brutality and racism. For their part, officers say they’re just stretched thin on numerous fronts. An illuminating New York Times feature gathers some of the data on police staffing during a tumultuous year:

  • “Hundreds of officers” were temporarily shifted from detective squads and put on social-distancing patrols and later protest duty in May and June 
  • During some of the worst weeks of the city’s COVID-19 outbreak, as many as 7,000+ officers were out sick (about 20 percent of the force)
  • Compared with the same period last year, the last four weeks have seen drops in overall arrests (62 percent), gun arrests (67 percent), and gang unit arrests (90 percent)
  • The clearance rate for shootings this year is 23 percent, compared to the usual 30 percent

To try to solve more shootings and stanch retaliatory violence, the NYPD says it will transfer 250 officers from a notorious, recently disbanded anti-crime unit to the detective squad.

Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes a new violence reduction initiative can help turn the tide. The plan, which launches today, entails a beefed-up presence for cops, street outreach workers, and community groups in two central Brooklyn neighborhoods that have been racked by the recent violence.

National Republicans continue war against St. Louis prosecutor probing couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner is weighing whether to bring charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who aimed weapons at demonstrators marching past their mansion last month. Both governor Mike Parson and President Trump have publicly supported the couple. Now, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has asked the Justice Department to consider a federal civil rights probe into Gardner’s actions, which he called an abuse of power. She has decried the outside political interference.

DATA POINT

Eighty-six percent of Black voters said a candidate’s position on gun policy was more important than their opinion of Donald Trump. [Everytown for Gun Safety and Higher Heights for America]

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