What To Know Today
New York judge dismisses AG’s attempt to dissolve the NRA. But much of the lawsuit is still intact. While Judge Joel Cohen’s Wednesday decision rules out the most extreme outcome sought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, it still lets claims against the gun group and individual executives, including CEO Wayne LaPierre, go forward. Though attorneys familiar with nonprofit law have long said the dissolution bid had little chance of success, the ruling remains significant. Since James brought her suit in August 2020, the demise of the country’s most powerful gun rights group was a prospect, at least in theory. In eliminating that possibility, Cohen wrote that: “The complaint does not allege that any financial misconduct benefited the NRA, or that the NRA exists primarily to carry out such activity, or that the NRA is incapable of continuing its legitimate activities on behalf of its millions of members. … Moreover, dissolving the NRA could impinge, at least indirectly, on the free speech and assembly rights of its millions of members.” In a statement, James said, “While we’re heartened that the judge rejected the NRA’s attempts to thwart most of the claims in our case … we are disappointed that the judge ruled against the dissolution portion of the case.” Will Van Sant has more on the ruling here.
Democratic senators pursuing gun reform turn up the heat on Biden. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut is perhaps the leading voice for gun reform in the upper chamber of Congress, and has previously defended President Joe Biden’s record as historic. But he broke from that style of rhetoric on Wednesday, saying it’s time to “see more urgency” from the president, joining a chorus of gun reform advocates who say Biden isn’t doing enough. “Because we are at a logjam in the United States Senate, it means that the burden on the administration to step up and take action is great,” he said. Murphy called on Biden to take executive action to strengthen background checks, finalize ghost gun regulations that have been pending since May 2021, and nominate a new director for the ATF, which is still without a permanent leader. Connecticut’s senior senator, Richard Blumenthal, joined Murphy and several gun violence survivors outside the Capitol on Wednesday. Blumenthal echoed Murphy’s frustration, saying Biden should establish an office of gun violence prevention. — Chip Brownlee, reporter
NEW from THE TRACE: The human toll of keeping Baltimore safe. Safe Streets, an organization of violence interrupters, lost three staff members to violence last year. Now, some people are asking a fundamental question about an approach that puts its staff directly in harm’s way: Is it worth it? “It used to be that no one would dare shoot at a Safe Streets worker,” said Daniel Webster, director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins University. “Something has changed out there. These guys, to be honest, were viewed as the toughest guys on the street.” J. Brian Charles has more on that story here. Bittersweet news: This will be his last bylined piece while still a Trace staff reporter. He’s heading off to pursue a number of other projects. We wish him the best, and hope you’ll continue to follow his work!
The Sacramento man who killed his daughters had been barred from possessing a weapon. He shot them anyway. The Los Angeles Times has more on the father who killed three of his own children in a church on Monday while seeing them under supervision. The man was under a restraining order by the mother of his children for years of abuse, and was reportedly told in court documents that he was not allowed to possess a gun. Police are still investigating the shooting, but a local domestic violence advocate told the Times it was an all-too-common story. “It is left to an honor system [to surrender guns] with a person who has already hurt or threatened a partner being relied upon to abide by the law,” said Julie Bornhoeft. “It is a flawed system.”
Ohio Legislature sends a permitless carry bill to the governor’s desk. The bill would remove licensing requirements for people 21 and older to carry concealed guns in public. If the Republican governor signs the legislation, Ohio will join six other states that did the same last year. Georgia is expected to follow suit soon.
We’re hiring! The Trace is hiring our first-ever director of people operations, a critical role that will oversee efforts to care for our staff and develop processes and tools that allow our distributed organization — with 18 full-time employees in 10 states — to collaborate effectively in a fast-changing world. This is an important leadership position, reporting to The Trace’s managing director. Interested in applying or spreading the word? Application info here. (We’ll be accepting applications until April 1.)
31.5 per 100,000 — the homicide rate in Philadelphia last year, the highest of any of the 10 largest cities in America. The below graphic from this newly launched New York City-focused publication has more. [Vital City]