What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Judge dismisses NRA bankruptcy, saying it was filed in bad faith. The decision returns the focus of the National Rifle Associaition’s legal saga to New York, where Attorney General Letitia James is pursuing the gun group for violation of nonprofit laws. Judge Harlin Hale did not bar the NRA from refiling its bankruptcy, as James’s office had requested. However, Hale indicated that if the case comes before his court again, he would consider the appointment of a trustee who could assume control of the organization. “The court agrees with the NYAG that the NRA is using this bankruptcy case to address a regulatory enforcement problem, not a financial one,” Hale wrote in his decision. “The court finds that the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith because this filing was not for a purpose intended or sanctioned by the bankruptcy code.” Will Van Sant has more here.

Atlanta spa shooting suspect indicted on murder, domestic terror charges. The 22-year-old arrested for fatally shooting eight people — six of them Asian women — in three locations in the Atlanta metropolitan area was indicted in Cherokee and Fulton Counties on eight counts of murder and several other charges, including domestic terrorism. The district attorney in Fulton County said she believes the perpetrator targeted four Asian victims there based on race and is also seeking the death penalty. The Cherokee County DA has not made a hate crimes determination.

Law enforcement officials, gun reform advocates warn against danger of ghost guns. In testimony before the Democratic-led Senate judiciary committee, experts described the threat posed by unserialized firearms, which have increasingly shown up at crime scenes across the country. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said that his city had seen a 300 percent spike in ghost gun retrievals. “Most disturbingly,” he added, “nearly one-fourth of all the ghost guns recovered by Baltimore police were from individuals who were not old enough to obtain a firearm.”

San Francisco moves to curb the DIY guns. A proposed ordinance would make the city the first in California to ban the possession and sale of ghost gun kits and parts. It would prohibit anyone other than a licensed manufacturer from buying, selling, transferring, or owning certain firearm components that haven’t been given serial numbers. Forty-four percent of recovered guns used in homicides last year were ghost guns, up from 6 percent in 2019, according to San Francisco’s police chief.

As Texas prepares to nix license-to-carry requirements, residents arm themselves at record rate. Nearly half a million Texans sought a license in 2020, the highest number in at least five years, according to The Dallas Morning News, as the number of background checks on potential gun buyers last year eclipsed a previous record set in 2016. The Texas Legislature is poised to send permitless carry legislation to Republican Governor Greg Abbott. If approved, Texans 21 and over would no longer need a permit, nor the currently required safety training, to carry a handgun openly or concealed in public. Both the state House and Senate have approved the bill, but the two chambers need to agree on a final version before sending the legislation to Abbott, who has said he will sign it into law. More than 1.6 million Texans have active permits, up from 400,000 in 2010.

More research treats gun buyback programs with skepticism. A review of the programs that pay individuals to turn over their firearms found no evidence that they reduce gun crime or suicides. The working paper, from researchers working with the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer-reviewed. It identified no significant short- or long-term decreases in gun violence following buybacks. The authors write that the policy also has little effect on the overall supply of guns, collecting a relatively minuscule number of firearms compared to overall levels of gun ownership. Gun buybacks have been used in the United States for the last 50 years, but many studies have shown them to be ineffective.

Data Point

54 percent — the share of mass shootings (defined here as four or more killed or wounded) between 2009 and 2018 that involved a perpetrator shooting an intimate partner or family member. The shooter that killed six family members in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last weekend was reportedly dating one of the victims. [Everytown for Gun Safety]

[Everytown’s nonpolitical arm provides funding to The Trace. Here is a list of The Trace’s major donors and its policy on editorial independence.]