U.S. law requires only federally licensed gun dealers and manufacturers to conduct background checks before selling a weapon. Unlicensed private sellers are increasingly taking advantage of their exemption through online platforms like Armslist to hawk their wares with relative ease — but the regulatory landscape might be on the brink of change. [The New York Times]
Context: Last year’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act included a provision requiring anyone selling guns with the main intent of making a profit to obtain a Federal Firearms License. The measure, while not yet in effect, could ultimately subject more firearm sales to background checks.
From Our Team
The polls are clear: From Fox News to NPR, surveys show that Americans significantly and consistently support many stricter gun policies, including red flag laws, universal background checks, and raising the age to buy any firearm to 21. None of those proposals, however, have seen major progress in Congress.
If support from everyday Americans doesn’t translate into votes, writes The Trace’s Chip Brownlee, it raises the question of whether the government is working as it should. For the latest edition of The Trajectory, Brownlee sat down with Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, to talk about the connection between gun reform and voting rights — and what stalled progress on those issues indicates about the state of America’s little-d democratic system.
What to Know Today
In response to punitive sentencing laws, Illinois created a pilot program offering rehabilitation instead of jail to some young people charged with gun possession. Last week, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to make the program permanent. [The Trace/Illinois Office of Governor]
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, a prominent anti-gun violence advocate, unexpectedly died Tuesday at age 71. [Associated Press]
Texas is historically a top U.S. source for guns used in a crime that are recovered in Mexico, per the ATF. Traffickers tend to use two methods to obtain firearms: using “straw purchasers” to buy guns from licensed dealers, and procuring weapons from private dealers via sales that often lack a paper trail. [The Dallas Morning News]
As the NRA struggles with scandal and shrinking revenue — or “dumpster fires,” as one former board member put it — the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a rival lobbying group, appears to be eclipsing its influence. [The Guardian] Context: There’s a sense among many gun advocates that the NRA is distracted, enfeebled, and no longer the standard bearer for their cause.
The New Orleans Police Department touted face-recognition technology as a key tool to reduce violent crime. But according to a new report, from October 1, 2022, to July 1 of this year, the department used the technology just a handful of times, resulting in zero arrests. [Verite]
New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a $485 million plan to reduce gun violence, including job training programs for young people, improvements to public housing, and better mental health care in jails. [Gothamist] Context: The city will measure the plan’s effectiveness against a number of “key performance indicators,” ranging from shooting rates to school attendance. But like other violence intervention initiatives, there are still challenges to assessing the plan’s success.
The mass shooting at a housing project in South Baltimore last month was the worst in recent city history. Why did police call for cleaners, who destroyed DNA evidence that may have been crucial to solving the case, before processing the crime scene? [The Baltimore Banner]
Homicides are down in Indianapolis so far this year, with a notable exception: The number of young murder victims is on the rise. Teenagers say fears about safety are driving their peers to carry guns, and that providing counseling at schools could help stop the violence. [Indianapolis Star/Axios]
The Supreme Court has historically given federal agencies broad latitude to craft rules and regulations from vague laws. But the current conservative majority is doing away with that precedent — a trend echoed in the “history-and-tradition” test for gun regulations that the court instituted in its Bruen ruling last year. [The New Republic]
43 percent — the proportion of crime guns recovered in Mexico that were sourced from Texas, from 2017 to 2021. [The Dallas Morning News]