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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones can’t use bankruptcy protection to avoid paying nearly $1.5 billion in damages to the families of Sandy Hook mass shooting victims who sued over the Infowars host’s repeated false claims that the 2012 massacre was a hoax. A Texas judge decided in a ruling last week that the protections don’t apply over findings of “willful and malicious” conduct. The Sandy Hook families have yet to collect any money from the Infowars host, whose personal spending topped $93,000 in July alone. [Associated Press]

From Our Team

At a recent community fair in West Philadelphia, four armed guards dressed in tactical gear stood watch as kids jumped in a bouncy house and residents grooved to the beats of local rappers. Across town, worshipers at the Northeast Philadelphia Islamic Center congregated alongside three guards clutching rifles with Glock handguns on their hips. And outside a renowned cheesesteak spot, customers waiting to place orders chatted with private security guards carrying AR-15-style rifles. 

Welcome to Philadelphia, where armed guards are summoned to stand sentinel in places where they’ve rarely, if ever, been before. In his latest story, The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean breaks down why the private security business is booming — and why some are concerned about the trend. Read more →

What to Know Today

Illinois-based company Fortress Safe voluntarily recalled 61,000 gun safes that use fingerprint technology after a 12-year-old reportedly obtained a firearm inside one of the safes and died by gunshot. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 39 reports of the safes being accessed by people with unregistered fingerprints. [The New York Times

The Supreme Court declined to restore Missouri’s “Second Amendment Preservation Act” — which bars local officials from enforcing any law that would “infringe” upon the right to “bear arms” — leaving in place a lower court order blocking the measure. The only noted dissent came from Justice Clarence Thomas. [NPR]

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez, a gun-friendly judge in San Diego, again declared California’s decades-old ban on assault-style weapons unconstitutional, issuing a ruling identical to one he gave in the same case two years ago. The current laws will remain in place while the state’s attorney general appeals the ruling to the 9th Circuit. [The San Diego Union-Tribune

The names of at least 27 current and former Chicago Police officials appeared in leaked rosters for the Oath Keepers, an extremist anti-government militia that played a central role in the January 6 insurrection. Some of the named officers have troubling backgrounds including allegations of excessive force, improper searches, and racist comments on the job. [Chicago Sun-Times

In 2013, the Commerce Department began a partnership with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to host prospective international buyers at the SHOT Show, the world’s biggest gun industry event that takes place each year in Las Vegas. The effort has effectively turned hundreds of government employees into gun industry sales reps — and found notable success in some of the most violent countries in the world. [Bloomberg Businessweek + Politics

The Massachusetts House overwhelmingly approved a bill to overhaul the state’s firearm laws, voting 120-38 in favor of the legislation after a long debate period. The legislation would crack down on ghost guns and limit where guns can be carried, among other measures. [WBUR

Like many cities in the U.S., Savannah, Georgia, is struggling to retain police officers. Department officials say new pistols with red-dot sights will help failing recruits pass the academy — but the law enforcement agency’s attempts to convince the City Council to approve funding for the firearms have cited misleading statistics and inconsistent facts. [The Current]  

In February 2022, Baltimore Police officers shot and killed 18-year-old Donnell Rochester. Though the gunfire was the result of a split-second decision, the shooting was also the final link in a series of systemic issues that led to the death a queer Black teenager. [Baltimore Beat]

Data Point

More than 3,200 — the number of prospective international buyers the Commerce Department steered to SHOT Show in January 2023, up from 370 in 2013. [Bloomberg Businessweek + Politics]