What To Know Today

Senate gun reform negotiations continue — slowly. It’s increasingly unlikely that the Senate will vote on a gun bill before the July 4 holiday, Chip Brownlee reports as part of his continuing coverage of the framework taking shape on Capitol Hill. The lead negotiators met again on Thursday but didn’t reach an agreement, as disputes remain over the “boyfriend loophole” and red flag incentives. Chip also digs deeper into a provision that would clarify who has to register as a federally licensed gun dealer. Federal law does not set a sales threshold after which a gun dealer must get licensed, an ambiguity that’s allowed many to avoid registering, even though they routinely sell at places like gun shows. Read more about the Senate’s proposed fix here.

Republicans try to block ATF confirmation vote. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday deadlocked along party lines over whether to advance Steven Dettelbach’s nomination to the full Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bypassed Republicans in a procedural move and polled the full Senate on whether to advance the nomination. GOP Senators Susan Collins and Rob Portman joined all 50 Democrats in voting yes. Schumer reportedly wants to hold the vote before the end of the month. “We need a fully functional ATF to help tackle the threat of gun violence, but ATF hasn’t had a permanent director since 2015,” he tweeted.

Health and science leaders urged the Senate to adopt evidence-based reforms. In a letter on Thursday, more than 1,200 physicians, researchers, educators, and public health experts outlined a plan that includes prohibiting gun purchases for people with violent crime convictions and domestic violence restraining orders; adopting child access prevention laws and gun storage requirements; implementing firearm licensing and training requirements; and banning large-capacity ammunition magazines. Related: In an open letter, over 200 Hollywood luminaries slammed “politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives,” and urged their peers in the industry to model responsible gun behavior onscreen, particularly around children.

Longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is retiring. Hammer, the NRA’s first woman president, had the Florida Legislature in her grip for four decades, our Mike Spies reported in 2018. That year, however, she suffered legislative defeat in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, when the Republican governor signed a red flag law and other reforms. Now the Tampa Bay Times reports that Hammer, 83, is stepping down, and will instead act as an advisor to the gun group. “I stood tall against a wall of people who wanted to destroy the Constitution and punish law-abiding people for the acts of criminals,” she told the paper. During her tenure, Hammer oversaw the passage of the nation’s first “stand your ground” law. 

Meanwhile, the NRA offered gun violence solutions that don’t involve regulating guns. In a blog post and email blast, CEO Wayne LaPierre expressed condolences for Buffalo and Uvalde and called for the immediate creation of a federally funded program to implement “enhanced safety and security” measures in “every school in America.” He also demanded increased funding for law enforcement and mental healthcare, and enhanced threat assessment to flag “evil monsters who commit gun violence and murder.” Alluding to gun reform supporters, LaPierre decried “soundbite solutions” that “allow our most vulnerable to remain unprotected.” Reality check: Guns are far more likely to be used in crime than in self-defense, Jennifer Mascia reported in a recent installment of Ask The Trace

Fox News poll finds overwhelming support for gun reforms. The right-wing media outlet said 88 percent of registered voters surveyed last weekend support background checks on all gun buyers; 82 percent support raising the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle; 81 percent support the passage of red flag laws; and 80 percent support background checks for ammunition sales. More than three-quarters of respondents favor a 30-day waiting period to buy guns, while two-thirds support a revival of the assault weapon ban.

Data Point

75 percent — the portion of crime guns recovered across state lines that originated from states without universal background checks between 2016 and 2020. More than 600,000 crime guns traced by the ATF between 2010 and 2020 originated from a different state than the one in which they were recovered. [Center for American Progress]