Hello, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: Officials in New Jersey are flexing policy muscles rarely used to curb the flow of guns. A judge rails against the FBI over its failure to bolster the federal gun background check system. And a new study looks at the prevalence of murder-suicide by gun in America. 

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New from The Trace: How a New Jersey town is keeping gun stores out. The town of Piscataway does not have a single licensed firearms dealer. Last week, its council passed a measure to keep it that way. Officials used local zoning codes to ban gun stores from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, health care facilities, and other sensitive locations — a radius that encompasses virtually every retail site in the town. In a new post, Alex Yablon explains how the town hopes to set an example for others, and why it believes its ordinance will pass constitutional muster: Federal judges have ruled in other cases that the Second Amendment does not establish a right to sell arms.

After the Las Vegas shooting, the NRA gave $700,000 to get one-on-one access with state law enforcement officials.
 Its donation to the Republican Attorneys General Association was more than six times the amount donated the previous year. The following month, 24 of the 27 Republican state attorneys general penned a letter in support of concealed-carry reciprocity, a top legislative priority for the gun group.

Dismissing a lawsuit brought by survivors of the Charleston church shooting, a judge calls out the gun background check system’s “nonsense.”
 Despite having a felony arrest, the gunman who killed nine people at a Bible study three years ago this week was able to buy a pistol after a federal background check failed to confirm his disqualifying history in time. In his order tossing the suit against the federal government, the judge called the system “disturbingly superficial” and argued the killed would not have been able to obtain the murder weapon had examiners had access to N-DEx, a national crime database. Context: Everything you need to know about how a federal gun background check works.

Gun reform is the top issue among LGBTQ voters in 2018, 
according to a survey by Whitman Insight Strategies and BuzzFeed News. Of those polled, nearly one fifth said gun control was their top issue and 71 percent said that a candidate’s position on guns would impact their vote. Nearly half of those surveyed said the Pulse Nightclub shooting influenced their views on gun legislation. Respondents also showed strong support for universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

An assault weapons ban failed in the Delaware Senate. Two Democrats sided with Republicans on Tuesday to defeat the measure, the most controversial in a group of gun bills introduced earlier this year. Last week, Governor John Carney signed a bump stock ban into law hours after it passed without debate.

The Pennsylvania House advanced several gun measures. On Tuesday, a House panel adopted four gun-related measures, that would establish extreme risk protection orders in the state, require domestic abusers to relinquish their guns, allow people to voluntarily surrender their firearms, and close a loophole allowing some criminals to own guns. The bills will now move to the House floor for two more votes before they can advance to the Senate.


There are more than 11 murder-suicides every week in the U.S., according to a new study from the Violence Policy Center. The vast majority of the incidents were carried out by men who shot an intimate partner before killing themselves. In 91 percent of the cases, a firearm was used. “The most common catalytic component in murder-suicide is the use of a firearm,” the study’s conclusion reads, pointing out the weapon’s “unmatched combination of high lethality and easy availability.”

The study reaffirms the findings of The Trace’s analysis of 76 murder-suicides that took place in the first six weeks of this year. In all but six of those cases, the shooter was male, and the vast majority of cases involved current or former intimate partners.