What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: How candidates running to represent Philadelphia say they’ll address gun violence. With gun violence still elevated, residents want to know what their representatives are going to do to keep them safe. We reached out to 40 candidates running for office in the legislature and presented them with Philadelphians’ questions. The eight candidates — six Democrats and two Republicans — who responded offered differing approaches for reducing gun violence, from better regulating gun dealers in the counties outside Philadelphia, to cultivating stronger partnerships with constituents and reducing access to firearms in the home. Emily Neil has that story here for our Up the Block project.

More developments after Bruen. There have been further changes to state policies and new litigation and arguments in court since we published our tracker looking at how the SCOTUS case has rapidly shaken up gun laws. They include:

  • Massachusetts: The Legislature passed a measure amending concealed carry laws to comply with Bruen. It includes language removing “a reasonable exercise of discretion” on the part of licensing authorities, eliminates a requirement that applicants have “good reason to fear injury,” and replaces the word “may” with “shall” in the state statute, reflecting the transition from may-issue to shall-issue. The bill also requires in-person interviews with licensing authorities and adds new categories of prohibited carriers.
  • California: In Miller v. Bonta, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a June 2021 ruling that struck down the state’s 30-year-old assault-weapon ban, and sent the case back to a district court for reconsideration in light of Bruen. It’s hard to see the verdict changing, given that the same judge will rehear the case and that Bruen expanded gun rights. In Duncan v. Bonta, the Supreme Court after Bruen sent a challenge to the state’s ban on high-capacity magazines back to the Ninth Circuit, which upheld it in November 2021. Now, the lower court asked lawyers for both sides to submit briefs on how they believe Bruen affects the case.

A D.C. program asks incarcerated people about solutions to crime. The LEAD Up! initiative put anti-violence workers and city leaders in a room with incarcerated people who, over the course of 10 weeks this summer, talked about what might have led them down different paths. Among the suggestions were more job programs, mentorship opportunities, and wrap-around services, as well as training for underserved communities on firearm safety and gun laws. Given that many of the ideas proposed were similar to what the city is already doing, one insight for city leaders is to create more awareness. “There is a communication breakdown that we need to work on,” said D.C. Director of Gun Violence Prevention Linda K. Harllee Harper. 

‘You know what perjury is?’ Lawyers for Sandy Hook parents claim new deceptions by Alex Jones. In a remarkable twist in the ongoing defamation damages trial, lawyers for Sandy Hook parents said that counsel for the Infowars founder had accidentally sent the entire contents of his cell phone dating back two years to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and that Jones had lied when he previously said he didn’t have any text messages on his phone that mentioned Sandy Hook. The contents of his phone also apparently revealed the lucrative nature of Infowars. At another point on Wednesday, Jones admitted that the shooting at Sandy Hook was “100 percent real” after having previously called it a hoax.

The grim tally of threats to election workers since the 2020 election. Five people have been charged with federal crimes since last year’s launch of a DOJ task force to monitor threats against election workers, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The DOJ task force has reviewed more than 1,000 threatening messages since then. Among those charged for violent threats was a Texas man who posted a request on Craigslist for Georgia election officials to be shot. “We will not tolerate criminal intimidation of those who administer and safeguard our electoral system,” Polite said.

Data Point

Over 820 — the number of firearms a federal grand jury indicted three men for in an alleged illegal trafficking scheme in Puerto Rico. [Department of Justice]