What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: Four under-the-radar cases that could change the landscape of firearms regulation. Legal challenges to gun restrictions have been building since 2008, when the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller established the right to own a firearm for self-defense. The ruling struck down a ban on handgun ownership, but it left the constitutionality of other gun restrictions up in the air, and over the last decade, justices have refrained from issuing any other major rulings to further define the extent of people’s rights to possess firearms. “There’s an enormous amount of uncertainty about what exactly the limits of the Second Amendment are, and that sort of uncertainty generates litigation,” said gun law expert Timothy Lytton. From bans on large-capacity magazines to age restrictions on handgun buyers, Brian Freskos previews four big lower court cases that experts say could leave a lasting imprint on Second Amendment jurisprudence.
House committees include $5 billion for community-focused violence intervention in budget draft. The money is currently split evenly between the Judiciary and the Energy and Commerce Committees and reflects President Joe Biden’s call for the historic investment in his job and infrastructure proposal in April. House committees are currently marking up the precise text of the Build Back Better Act, the massive budget bill congressional Democrats are attempting to pass using reconciliation. The proposed $5 billion funding boost for anti-violence initiatives echoes a request by Fund Peace, a coalition of Black- and brown-led groups formed in February amid efforts to garner financial help from the government for struggling community programs that have long grappled with small budgets and sporadic funding.
Two middle schoolers detained for reportedly planning a mass shooting. The 13- and 14-year-old boys at Harns Marsh Middle School in Lee County, Florida, about two hours away from where the Parkland mass shooting was carried out in 2018, were arrested late last week for allegedly actively planning an attack. Police said the two had researched the Columbine, Colorado, school shooting in 1999 and studied how to build bombs and purchase guns on the black market. “I’m certain that my team of dedicated deputies and detectives acted promptly, investigated thoroughly, and prevented a very violent … act,” the local sheriff said.
Man who allegedly threatened to shoot Nancy Pelosi pleads guilty. Cleveland Meredith Jr., 53, admitted to one count of making interstate communication of threats after driving from Colorado to Washington, D.C., on January 6 with a pistol, rifle, and 2,500 rounds of ammunition. He admitted to texting a relative about “putting a bullet in [Pelosi’s] noggin on Live TV.” During a hearing, he told the presiding judge his words were “political hyperbole.” In exchange for Meredith’s guilty plea, prosecutors dropped three D.C. weapons charges against him. He was the 65th of close to 600 defendants to plead guilty to charges related to the Capitol insurrection.
Cache of airsoft guns draws large police response in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, officers temporarily detained two people on suspicion of having a trove of guns in their truck near the Capitol; the items turned out to be toy replicas. The false alarm came as city officials and U.S. Capitol Police have been preparing for the possibility of unrest and violence ahead of a right-wing rally on September 18, intended to honor the people charged in the insurrection. More from The Trace: Since 2015, police have fatally shot 243 people who had been holding toy replica guns, according to a Washington Post database. Alain Stephens has reported on the lucrative licensing deals that gun manufacturers make with toy companies.
60 — the number of homicides in Austin, Texas, so far this year, the deadliest one on record with more than three months still to go. Last year, the city had 48 homicides; the previous record for homicides was 59 in 1984. [Austin American-Statesman]