WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Biden has a historic gun reform platform. But will there be room to maneuver in Congress? President-elect Joe Biden will enter office with one of the most ambitious gun reform agendas in American history. But most of his proposals — including a federal ban on the sale of assault weapons, repealing the law that shields gunmakers from most liability suits, and $900 million in funding for community gun violence prevention — require congressional assent. Democrats will retain the House, but control of the Senate hinges on two runoff elections in Georgia. If Republicans keep control of the upper chamber, Biden’s legislative agenda on guns would be in peril. Bypassing Congress to tackle gun violence. The Washington Post reports that Biden’s transition team is already planning to issue a flurry of executive orders on Day One. The president-elect has pledged to use this power for gun policy as well, including a ban on the importation of assault weapons. Last year, we sketched out some of the other potential ways to address shootings through executive orders or the regulatory power of executive agencies.
The latest mode of armed protest: Challenging an election. Across several states over the weekend — including Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Pennsylvania — supporters of President Trump gathered to protest the election results and echoed the president’s baseless claims about voter fraud. Many people also brought their guns. HuffPost reporter Chris Mathias filed a must-read dispatch from one such demonstration in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where a heavily armed contingent of the far right was present — including members of the Proud Boys, militias, and white nationalist groups. Police broke up dueling pro-Trump and pro-Biden protests to mitigate the risk of violence.
A tale of two reactions to Biden’s win. “The result of the presidential election is encouraging for the future of gun violence prevention,” said the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Brady, Everytown, and Giffords all released similar statements. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association tweeted a video of Biden’s campaign trail confrontation with a gun rights supporter, paired with the words, “From our cold dead hands.” ICYMI: What gun policy groups spent. We tracked the 17 congressional races in which groups spent at least $100,000. Overall, the NRA spent $23 million; Everytown and Giffords spent $20.1 million and $2 million, respectively.
“This is what the Second Amendment is for.” Speaking on “60 Minutes,” Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, who is a Republican, said that was one of the many death threats his office received for merely counting votes. Meanwhile, the sight of armed protesters outside vote-counting centers was repeated in several battleground states all week. “The more we see, the more people see it as a normal reaction — even though it’s not,” an extremism expert told the Associated Press.
St. Louis couple sues photographer who captured them pointing guns at protesters. Patricia and Mark McCloskey are facing felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence for the June confrontation against Black Lives Matter protesters who marched past their home. In local circuit court, they argue a United Press International photographer was trespassing when he took a now iconic image of the incident. The suit also targeted the wire service and a company that sold T-shirts with the image.
About 9 in 10 — the share of likely voters who said protests over police violence were a factor in their vote for president. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they supported Biden and 46 percent backed Trump. [The Associated Press via The New York Times]