Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[AP Photo/Julio Cortez]

Daily Bulletin: Trump Tells Far-Right Supporters to ‘Stand By’

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Pressed during the debate, Trump declines to disavow militia groups and white supremacists. The first face-off of the 2020 general election was marked by President Trump’s interruptions and hectoring, and the segment on violent crime, law enforcement, and protests involved no substantive exchanges on policy. Trump did repeat the false claim that this year’s rise in violent crime was limited to Democratic-run cities, incorrectly stated that violence by left-wing activists is a greater threat than violence by groups and individuals on the far-right, and baldly exaggerated violence at this year’s protests for racial justice, the vast majority of which have been peaceful (as we noted in yesterday’s debate preview). But the most notable moment was the president’s refusal to condemn the actions of white supremacists and militias. Queried by moderator Chris Wallace and pressed by opponent Joe Biden, Trump responded: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Proud Boys a hate group. After the debate, members and sympathizers of the group celebrated Trump’s comment as vindication of their neo-fascist message.

Chicago releases a new violence reduction plan in an “all-hands-on-deck” effort. Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 108-page blueprint details the city’s struggles with gun violence and domestic violence and ways to address them. The plan treats violence as a public health crisis, and includes short- and long-term initiatives to address deep inequalities in housing and employment, policing and outreach, and neighborhood improvements. “This effort starts by tackling the issues at the root of violence, such as systemic racism, disinvestment, and poverty,” Lightfoot said. The plan comes at a crucial time: More than 3,000 people have been shot in Chicago this year and homicides are approaching 600, placing the city on par with the historic uptick seen in 2016. But it’s unclear how much the strategy will cost to implement, especially as Chicago faces a nearly billion dollar budget deficit. The report says the city plans to sustain funding levels for community anti-violence organizations this year, but intends to increase those allocations in the future. You can read it here. — Lakeidra Chavis, reporter

During a previous anti-gun violence push, Chicago police spent the bulk of their time writing parking tickets. Facing rising homicides in 2012, the Chicago Police Department rolled out a new Violence Reduction Initiative. The plan had officers working on overtime shifts in South and West Side neighborhoods with elevated shooting rates. A WBEZ investigation found that over the program’s five-year run, officers made 1,218 felony arrests and seized 573 gun or weapons. During the same period, they issued more than 338,000 parking citations — more than half the total activities police logged.

Unredacted FBI document from 2006 warned of white supremacist infiltration in law enforcement. In the newly public portion of the domestic intelligence assessment, the bureau said it was concerned about “self-initiated efforts by individuals, particularly among those already within law enforcement ranks, to volunteer their professional resources to white supremacist causes with which they sympathize.” Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Oversight Committee, released the memo ahead of a hearing on white supremacist representation in local police forces. Related: Former FBI Special Agent Michael German found law enforcement officers linked to white supremacist activities in more than a dozen states during the last two decades, according to a report for the Brennan Center.

Kentucky AG set to release Breonna Taylor grand jury recording today. Daniel Cameron said he would comply with a judge’s request to unseal the normally secret proceedings after a juror disputed Cameron’s handling of the case. Last week, the grand jury announced that none of the three officers would be indicted for Taylor’s killing during a March raid. (A former officer was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment — for recklessly shooting into neighboring apartments.) A lawyer for one of the grand jurors said Cameron “may not have presented” all the evidence in the case. Cameron himself has said he did not ask the grand jury to consider homicide charges.

Feds open a civil rights probe into the 2018 police killing of a Kansas teen. The shooting happened during a wellness check in Overland Park after reports that 17-year-old John Albers had threatened himself. A responding officer fired on Albers 13 times as he was backing a car out of his own garage. The officer who shot Albers received a $70,000 severance package when he agreed to resign, and Albers’ family settled a suit against the city for $2.3 million. ICYMI: Earlier this week, The Trace reported on the growing movement in cities to have counselors — not armed officers — respond to mental health calls.

DATA POINT

Between 1991 and 2017, every 10 percent increase in state firearm ownership corresponded to a 39 percent increase in firearm suicide among high school-aged students, according to a new study. [Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry]

(If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24 hours a day: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.)