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Supreme Court dismisses New York gun case. The justices declined to rule on whether a now-scrapped New York City law banning gun owners from taking firearms outside the five boroughs violated the Second Amendment, sending the case back to the lower courts. Conservative Justices John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s four liberals in dismissing the case, saying the plaintiffs’ grievances were satisfied when the local law was revoked. In his opinion, however, Kavanaugh urged the court to take up another gun case soon out of “concern” that “some federal and state courts may not be properly applying Heller and McDonald,” the 2008 and 2011 decisions that reversed centuries of precedent by establishing an individual right to gun ownership.
- An expert take: In a November Q&A with Trace contributor Olivia Li, Duke law professor Joseph Blocher essentially predicted yesterday’s decision. But he thinks the Court may not go another decade before taking up its next major Second Amendment case. “I suspect that we will see another case granted soon, and there are already plenty of pending petitions,” he told The Trace yesterday. (See the full list here.)
Virginia judge says shooting range can stay open. Governor Ralph Northam’s emergency stay-at-home order allowed gun stores and outdoor ranges to continue operating but shuttered indoor shooting facilities, grouping them in the “nonessential” category along with concert halls, movie theaters, and other enclosed venues where the risk of virus transmission may be higher. The state circuit court ruling only pertains to Safeside Gun Range in Lynchburg, which brought the suit, but legal experts tell The Washington Post that the decision could encourage other businesses in Virginia and across the country to challenge shutdown orders. State officials are considering an appeal.
Sanctions against NRA lawyer overturned. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday voided a lower court ruling that William A. Brewer III, an outside attorney for the National Rifle Association, attempted to taint a jury pool in a 2014 product liability case. In August 2018, The Trace revealed that Brewer had failed to disclose the ethics violation to a federal judge in Virginia, an omission that led to his removal from the NRA’s suit against insurance broker Lockton Affinity. Earlier this month, court filings alleged that the NRA paid Brewer’s firm $54 million over the past two years.
California authorities use red flag law to disarm a man paranoid about coronavirus. The San Diego City Attorney’s Office obtained a gun violence restraining order against a Rancho Peñasquitos resident who told family members that he was arming himself in response to “the COVID-19 hoax.” Police found him in possession of three shotguns, despite a gun ban stemming from a drunk driving conviction. ICYMI: Last year, Alain Stephens reported on San Diego’s vigorous usage of gun violence restraining orders.
New York City paramedic dies by gun suicide. John Mondello, 23 was found dead in Queens on Friday. Police say he used a gun registered to his father, a retired NYPD officer. Mondello had just joined the EMS force in January. A growing risk: In an Annals of Internal Medicine commentary last week, physicians warned that surging gun sales combined with “the economic and social tsunami caused by COVID-19 … could unleash a wave of suicide.” If you are in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day: 1-800-273-8255.
Domestic shooting claims five lives in Milwaukee. Police said a 43-year-old man targeted family members between the ages of 14 and 41 but spared an infant who was found unharmed at the scene. The suspect has several convictions, including for domestic violence, which prohibited him from possessing guns. He was apprehended by police after calling 911. Also on Monday, a woman in San Antonio shot and killed her mother, her two young children, and herself, police said. Sounding the alarm: The Trace’s Ann Givens interviewed experts who fear that financial strain, a burst of gun-buying, and social isolation could have grave consequences for victims of domestic violence.
Baltimore teen holding replica gun shot by police. An officer wounded the 16-year-old after encountering him while on patrol over the weekend. The city banned replica guns in 2016. Go deeper: Gun manufacturers cut lucrative licensing deals that allow toy companies to make replicas of their products. Citing The Trace’s reporting, Democratic U.S. senators last year urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require toy guns to look “markedly different” from real ones.
Shootings in Fresno, California, from March 16 to April 19 were up 67 percent compared to the same period in 2019. — Fresno Bee