What To Know Today
It now takes 12 to 14 days for the ATF to perform a trace on a crime gun. The record time comes amid the pandemic shooting spike, ATF staff attrition, and increasing police demand for gun traces. Meanwhile, about 83 percent of expedited requests for things like mass shootings and homicides are completed within 48 hours, according to the Justice Department. The agency uses an outdated system made necessary, in part, by federal rules that prevent it from keeping a searchable database of digitized gun transaction records. As a result, ATF officials search through scanned images of more than 900 million gun records when investigating gun crimes. The ATF’s National Tracing Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, is so cluttered with rows of boxes of paper records that the agency brought in 40 cargo shipping containers that sit outside the building, NBC News reports. “We are continually asked to do more, with less,” said a program manager at the center.
We’re tracking how the Bruen case is reshaping gun laws across the U.S. — and propelling a series of court challenges to existing regulations. Among the latest developments related to new litigation and arguments: In Colorado, a gun rights group sued the cities of Boulder and Louisville, and Boulder County, over bans on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; in New York, state officials argued that the state’s amended concealed carry law requiring “good moral character” — which was challenged in court post Bruen — complies with SCOTUS’s new history-and-tradition framework for deciding gun cases because of the country’s history of gun bans for specific groups like Native Americans and Catholics.
Why the Bruen case will extend the nation’s divided, patchwork laws around guns. In an op-ed in The Hill, RAND Corporation gun violence researchers Andrew Morral and Rosanna Smart, along with Duke law professor Darrell Miller, argue that, rather than an abrupt sea change to the nation’s gun laws, the decision is likely to reinforce and sharpen existing divisions by state and region. “Unless the court clarifies its Bruen holding, we’ll see for the foreseeable future what we’ve seen for the last decade: Blue states regulating within the ambiguities and interstices of the Supreme Court’s decisions on guns; red states articulating their political and policy preferences as a matter of constitutional right and requirement,” they write.
Americans increasingly worry about threats to democracy. Twenty-one percent of respondents, a plurality, identified “threats to democracy” as the most important issue facing the country, according to a new NBC News survey, surpassing “cost of living” and “jobs and the economy.” Another 8 percent of respondents picked guns, which tied for 5th place. Seventeen percent of respondents also identified firearms as a single issue that would determine how they voted for or against a candidate for elected office — the second-highest share, after abortion, of any listed policy issue. From The Trace: We recently reported on a survey by researchers at the University of California, Davis, which found that nearly half of Americans agree somewhat that there will be a civil war “in the next few years.” Nearly one in five are confident that they will soon arm themselves with a gun in a situation where political violence is justified.
Washington authorities think they may have stopped a mass shooting at a music festival. Police on Friday arrested a man outside a crowded three-day electronic music festival at Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. “Grant County sheriff’s deputies on Friday night believe they stopped an Ephrata man who may have had plans to commit a mass shooting at the Gorge Amphitheatre,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The man was armed with two, loaded 9mm pistols and detained before he got into the venue, police said.
A GOP candidate for a state House seat in Florida was banned from Twitter over threats. Luis Miguel posted that federal law enforcement officials should be shot on sight. The alarming comment came a week after a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with online death threats against FBI agents and nearly two weeks after a man attempted to breach an FBI building in Cincinnati after posting threats against FBI agents following the bureau’s search of Mar-a-Lago. House Democrats have called on social media companies to take urgent action to counteract violent threats against law enforcement.
250,000 — the average number of gun records scanned per day at the ATF’s tracing center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, according to ATF officials. [NBC News]