Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP]

Daily Bulletin: St. Louis Couple Who Pointed Guns at Protesters Face Felony Charges

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

St. Louis couple charged for pointing guns at protesters. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner told the Associated Press she was charging Mark and Patricia McCloskey with felony unlawful use of a gun after they brandished weapons at protesters filing past their mansion in June. The charges carry a prison sentence of up to four years, but Garder said she would recommend diversion to community service. President Trump has publicly defended the McCloskeys and Missouri Governor Mike Parson floated the possibility of a pardon if charges were filed.

Trump to deploy federal agents to Chicago. The Department of Homeland Security is sending 150 federal agents to the city, which is in the grip of a gun violence surge. According to CNN, the agents will prioritize cracking down on illegal gun sales and arresting people with outstanding gun-related warrants. Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed concerns about their presence, considering agents’ actions in Portland, Oregon, last week. “We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully,” she said.

Meanwhile, gun arrests are spurring a rise in the city’s jail population. The number of people in the Cook County Jail hit a low in May at about 4,000. But the facility’s population is now climbing, driven primarily by arrests for weapons-related offenses, according to an analysis by Injustice Watch. May and June both recorded more than 500 gun arrests, the highest single-month tallies in more than six years.

Suspect in fatal shooting at federal judge’s home found dead. The man suspected of opening fire at the New Jersey home of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, leaving her son dead and husband critically wounded, was found dead on Monday. The suspect, a self-described “anti-feminist” lawyer who once brought a case before Salas, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in upstate New York. A neighbor told The New York Times that Salas was concerned that taking on high-profile cases could put her in danger.

Atlanta confronts rising shootings amid police violence, economic uncertainty, and COVID-19. Between June 13 and July 11, at least 106 people were shot in the city; 40 people were shot over the same period in 2019. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says the violence is the result of “a perfect storm of distress in America.” The victims during the recent violence surge included a rising hip hop artist known as Lil Marlo and Secoriea Turner, an 8-year-old girl who was fatally shot as she rode in a car with her family.

Police violence to take center stage at the Supreme Court. In October, the justices will hear Torres v. Madrid, in which Roxanne Torres is suing the cops who shot her in 2014. Torres, who was unarmed, accuses the two officers of using excessive force in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights after they shot at her 13 times, hitting her twice. The officers said they feared Torres, who was in a car, would run them over. The amendment bars unreasonable search and seizures, and The New York Times’s Adam Liptak writes that courts have long considered excessive force by police as a form of seizure. But the Torres case hinges on whether the plaintiff can make such a legal claim since the police who shot her never actually seized her. A lower court ruled against her on those grounds.

Activists urge companies to stop funding Philadelphia police group. Since June, defund advocates have been pressuring patrons of the Philadelphia Police Foundation, which raises private money for the city’s force, to withdraw their support. They’ve had some success — both University of Pennsylvania and Temple University have frozen contributions — but many companies, including Comcast, Wawa, and Independence Blue Cross, continue to give money. Last year, the foundation contributed $500,000 of the Police Department’s budget. Critics say that the amount is relatively small but police foundations can purchase weapons with little oversight.

DATA POINT

Eight out of 10 registered voters in Tennessee support background checks before buying a gun. [Tennessee Lookout]