Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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A protester speaks with Louisville police officers near the site of a shooting. [AP Photo/Dylan Lovan]

Daily Bulletin: Nuanced Attitudes Toward Police in Black Neighborhoods Struggling With Violence

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: Guns flew off the shelves. Now dealers face an inventory crisis. The historic surge in gun buying over the last four months would seem like the recipe for a roaring recovery for gun sellers who’ve felt the effects of the industry’s “Trump slump.” But the spiking demand caught firearms manufacturers and distributors flatfooted, leaving them unable to fulfill orders and some gun stores struggling to fully capitalize on the crush of buyers.  “Everyone thinks it’s great to have a thing like this for gun sales,” one dealer said. But “if you sell 50 guns but only can bring 25 in, it’s gonna catch up to you.” Champe Barton and Daniel Nass have that story.

Interviews in Black neighborhoods struggling with elevated violence capture nuanced attitudes toward the police. The Gilpin Court complex in Richmond, Virginia, home to under 3,000 residents, has had four homicides so far this year. The Virginia Mercury spoke with residents and advocates there who say they’d welcome a larger police presence — if police treated them with more respect and operated with more accountability. “We have some good officers, and we have some bad officers,” said one community member. “The police and the chief are hiding what the bad officers are doing and it gives them license to do it again.” About 100 miles away in the predominantly Black Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. — where five people have been killed this year — residents of one hard-hit street expressed similar sentiments to The Washington Post after the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy during a July 4 anti-violence event. “This is beyond. Police need more presence here,” said a resident, who like others said she had long bristled at a lack of police accountability. New national polling data reinforces the complexity. From the Pew Research Center: 42 percent of Black adults said spending on the police should decrease in their areas, a significantly higher percentage than for white respondents. But a third of Black adults also said funding levels should remain the same; another 22 percent think it should increase.

At least 17 people were shot in NYC on Monday, at least two of them fatally. Five people were shot within a 20-minute span in the same Brooklyn neighborhood. “Those numbers would be high for a Friday or Saturday, but for a Monday they are astronomical,” a high-ranking NYPD officer told The New York Post. As of Sunday, the city had seen 634 shootings this year, up from 394 at the same point in 2019. A recent analysis by the paper challenges the police narrative that inmate releases are behind the spike: Of the 11,000 inmates released from New York City’s Rikers Island prison in 2020, less than 1 percent were listed as perpetrators or suspects in gun violence cases.

Judge rules NRA must face state financial regulator in court. The gun group failed in its attempt to secure an injunction against the New York State Department of Financial Services, which in February brought civil charges against the National Rifle Association for illegally selling insurance products and deceptively marketing those products to its members. The Trace was the first to report on one of those insurance products, Carry Guard, which offered potential reimbursement of legal costs incurred by gun owners after shooting another person while claiming self-defense. With a  U.S. District Judge rejecting the NRA’s arguments, a DFS hearing is set for September, during which the regulator can call witnesses and reveal evidence against the group.

Citing qualified immunity, Utah judge dismisses lawsuit against officer who shot Black man in the back. The legal doctrine giving law enforcement officers broad protection against federal lawsuits has been singled out by activists as a barrier to police reform. Their argument just gained new fodder through a ruling in a case brought by the family of Patrick Harmon, who was shot three times by Salt Lake City Police after reportedly fleeing a police stop that began as a biking violation. The officer who shot Harmon claimed he saw a knife in Harmon’s hand; attorneys for Harmon’s family say no weapon appeared in bodycam footage. In his ruling, a U.S. District Judge said qualified immunity shielded the officer from claims of excessive force and racial discrimination.

An argument in Michigan over a face mask ended in a police shooting. Michigan State Police said a 43-year-old stabbed a 77-year-old man during an argument over the suspect’s refusal to wear a mask in a grocery store. A sheriff’s deputy pursued the man as he fled in a car and ultimately shot the suspect, saying he advanced at him with a knife. The suspect later died during surgery and the State Police are investigating the incident. Meanwhile in Kansas, a man flashed a gun after flouting the state’s mask requirement. An 18-year-old staffer at RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack in Mission said he asked the middle-aged man, who was wearing a MAGA hat, to comply with the mandate to wear face coverings in most indoor public spaces. The man responded by lifting up his shirt and revealing a holstered gun. Context: Frustration over coronavirus-related restrictions has led to at least nine shootings across the U.S.

DATA POINT

More registered voters in gun-friendly Texas have a favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement (43 percent) than the National Rifle Association (35 percent), a new poll found. Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler