Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s roundup: A $20 million lawsuit from the bump stock company that surrendered its inventory for destruction last month. Fresh scrutiny over the relationship between banks and the gun industry. And a leaked document showing Instagram’s struggle to enforce its ban on unlicensed gun sellers.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: A major bump stock seller wants the federal government to compensate it for the devices it was legally required to destroy. RW Arms turned over more than 70,000 bump stocks for destruction as the federal government’s ban on the devices went into effect last month. Now the retailer is suing the government for $20 million, claiming the destruction of the devices was a violation of the Fifth Amendment protection against the seizure of private property without compensation. Alex Yablon has the story.
At a Congressional hearing, a bank CEO was grilled over lending to gunmakers. Under questioning from Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told the House Financial Services Committee that the bank’s $273 million in loans for manufacturers of assault-style weapons were carefully vetted, but said that he would “consider” taking a stricter policy against the industry. During the same session, banks that imposed restrictions on gun businesses following the Parkland shooting also faced sharp inquiries from Republicans on the committee. ICYMI: Last week, the activist group Guns Down America issued a report card ranking 15 financial institutions on their track records with the gun industry. The group gave Chase an F for not having a policy against lending to gunmakers, and for its large donations to the industry and its political supporters.
Some Instagram users are subverting the platform’s ban on gun sales. A leaked document from Facebook, which owns Instagram, shows that individual Instagram users are advertising guns on the platform and directing their followers to secure chat apps to carry out transactions. Facebook and Instagram have prohibited gun sales between individuals since 2016, but the document suggests that the company has continued to struggled to enforce the rule.
Parkland families are suing the school district for deadly negligence. In 22 separate legal actions, families and survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School allege that the school district, sheriff’s office, and others failed to protect students. Lawyers representing the families say they hope the lawsuits — several of which were filed yesterday — will help push through school safety changes that might prevent future tragedies.
Shooting survivors in Illinois want more services to address their trauma. A group of survivor-advocates will be at the state Capitol today to lobby for more trauma recovery centers that offer therapy, relocation support, and legal assistance. Right now, Illinois has two such centers, but advocates say they’re inaccessible to survivors in smaller, more remote cities.
The NYPD has busted a Brooklyn-based gun trafficking ring. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced yesterday that three men were indicted after an undercover sting operation revealed that they were trafficking weapons along the “iron pipeline” that runs up the East Coast’s I-95. Gonzalez said the dozens of guns they recovered were “exactly the types of weapons used to commit violence in our communities.”
Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground” law won’t protect a woman who shot her alleged rapist. Brittany Smith was indicted last year on murder charges for shooting a man who she says was beating her brother and had brutally raped her earlier that night. She now faces life in prison despite the fact that Alabama’s self-defense law allows for the use of fatal force in cases where a person fears for their life, or if the attacker has kidnapped or raped someone.
ONE LAST THING
Pro-gun Republicans want to regulate journalists. In recent years, proposals for journalist registries have popped up in states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana, some of them in response to coverage of gun issues that Republican lawmakers deem critical of the Second Amendment. Indiana state Representative Jim Lucas explained that his 2017 bill, which would require journalists to be licensed by state police, was intended to stir a debate. “If you’re OK licensing my 2nd Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your 1st Amendment right?” he said.