What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: As SCOTUS mulled Bruen, the NRA lobbied in the shadows. An examination of the 49 pro-NRA amicus briefs filed in the case, along with court and IRS filings, shows that, over the last two decades, the NRA has given financial support to at least 12 of the groups and individuals who lobbied the court on its behalf. Though a full accounting is impossible, some recipients collected several million dollars from the NRA during that period and before filing briefs in Bruen. Only one of those 12 briefs disclosed the connection, meaning that neither the justices nor the public were told that 11 of these ostensibly independent voices owed their livelihoods in part to the NRA, the interest group behind the case. In its majority opinion, the court adopted many of the arguments and conclusions offered in the amicus briefs filed by these NRA-funded allies. Will Van Sant has that story — in partnership with POLITICO Magazine.

States, usually with stricter gun laws, saw a rise in recovered crime guns from elsewhere. In Massachusetts, 79 percent of crime guns police traced in 2020 came from out of state, compared to 63 percent in 2015, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of a decade of ATF data through 2020. California saw an increase in the same period — from 30 percent to 45 percent. In 2020, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Maryland had the highest share of crime guns recovered from out of state, while Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Virginia contributed the most crime guns to other states. From The Trace: In 2019, we reported on potential gun trafficking hubs by looking at states with the highest share of crime guns purchased within 12 months —a trafficking sign — and where they came from.

Louisville, Kentucky, officers involved in Breonna Taylor raid arrested and charged in federal civil rights probe. AG Merrick Garland announced the charges against the four current and former Louisville Police Department officers, who face numerous offenses including unconstitutional use of force, obstruction, and conspiracy, most of them related to the faulty drug warrant used to search Taylor’s home that preceded officers fatally shooting her. One of the officers charged, Brett Hankison, was previously acquitted of state charges that he endangered neighbors with his errant shots, but no officer was previously charged over Taylor’s actual death. 

Texas jury says Alex Jones owes Sandy Hook families $4.1 million in damages. The award for compensatory damages was the first of numerous potential financial penalties the far-right conspiracy theorist will have to pay. Later today, the same jury will determine whether Jones also owes Scarlett Lewis and Neil Heslin, the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook, punitive damages. The defamation damages trial is the first of three Jones faces to determine how much he owes to families of the 2012 shooting victims. The lawyer for the Sandy Hook parents also said he would turn over text messages from Jones, which the Infowars founder’s lawyers accidentally sent to the plaintiff’s lawyers, to the January 6th committee pending the judge’s permission. That committee previously deposed Jones.

New social media review requirement for getting a concealed permit in New York draws controversy. The state revised its process for screening concealed carry applications after the Bruen decision invalidated New York’s requirement that applicants demonstrate a special need for carrying. One of the new measures requires applicants to submit their social media accounts for investigators to take into account when making a permit determination. But critics, from gun rights proponents to civil libertarians, worry about the costs.

Data Point

104 percent — the year-to-date increase in firearms seized by the New York State Police compared to 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced this week. [The Journal News]