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In the wake of another deadly, high-profile mass shooting — this time at a crowded mall in Allen, Texas — President Joe Biden once again called on Congress to send gun reform legislation to his desk, saying in a statement that he would “sign it immediately.” It appears that at least one person in Congress is listening: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, is convening a special caucus meeting on Thursday to “discuss gun violence and the path forward on gun safety legislation,” his spokesperson told Axios. But any future federal gun laws hinge on the GOP’s cooperation — so the question for Schumer, according to The Hill, is whether Texas Senator John Cornyn, the Republican architect of last year’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, is open to another collaboration. 

Elsewhere, Senator Bob Menendez joined Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, N.J., in urging the ATF to fully enforce a provision of the 2022 gun safety law that requires all gun sellers, including online vendors and those at gun shows, to conduct background checks for purchases. And Florida Representative Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat, pitched a congressional field hearing on gun violence in Parkland to “start a conversation, to get something done.”

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have reacted predictably: Texas Senator Ted Cruz sparked backlash after saying he was “praying for the families of the [Allen shooting] victims,” and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, linked the shooting to “mental illness, drugs, and evil forces.” Both elided any mention of guns. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, on the other hand, indicated to CNN’s Melanie Zanona that legislation to prevent firearm violence isn’t on the table: “Congress passed more gun control,” Scalise said. “I opposed it because I knew it wouldn’t solve the problem.”

In his statement, Biden had harsh words for the GOP’s typical response to shootings. “Too many families have empty chairs at their dinner tables,” the president said. “Republican Members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug. Tweeted thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

What to Know Today

Americans purchased about 1.4 million guns last month, according to an analysis of FBI data, down 1 percent from April 2022 and up 7 percent from March 2023. The seasonally adjusted figure includes about 830,000 handguns and 550,000 long guns. [The Trace]

Twelve hours after attending a vigil for the people killed in last weekend’s mass shooting in Allen, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott unveiled a new “elite” state National Guard unit tasked to “repel illegal crossings.” It was a familiar move: When Texans are killed in mass shootings, Abbott deflects to talk about the border. [Texas Monthly]

The names of the eight people killed in the Allen mass shooting have been released: Aishwarya Thatikonda, 26; Daniela Mendoza, 11; Sofia Mendoza, 8; Kyu Cho, 37; Cindy Cho, 35; James Cho, 3; Christian LaCour, 23; and Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32. [The Texas Tribune]

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee made good on his promise to call a special session on gun safety legislation: The General Assembly will convene on the matter in August. Before the session ended last month, Lee called for the legislature to pass an extreme risk protection order law. [The Tennessean]

Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes is scheduled to be sentenced later this month for his role as a ringleader of the 2021 attack on the Capitol. The government is seeking a 25-year prison term — but, in a recent, bizarre court memo, Rhodes and his attorneys argued that he should receive a lenient sentence for his “service and dedication” as leader of the Oath Keepers. [Rolling Stone]

Chicago’s gunshot detection system, ShotSpotter, quickly sent out an alert about the shootout that left an off-duty cop fatally wounded last weekend. So why did it take over half an hour for police to find her? [Chicago Sun-Times

Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, signed legislation that criminalizes owning or operating paramilitary training camps. [Associated Press]

After the mass shooting at a medical office in Atlanta last week, Georgia Democrats urged Republican Governor Brian Kemp to call a special session on firearm reform. But the shootings aren’t changing the state’s political dynamic, and advisers to the governor said his position on gun rights hasn’t wavered. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Voters in Austin, Texas, last weekend resoundingly opted for a ballot measure to expand civilian oversight of the city’s Police Department, which has a reputation for violence and racism. But a bill making its way through the state Legislature could undermine the new watchdog ordinance. [Bolts]


The Legal Way to Seize Guns From Dangerous People: As gun violence restraining order laws gain traction in legislative chambers, it’s vital that state and local governments have a model for successfully implementing the orders. In San Diego, the City Attorney’s Office thinks it has found that formula. (March 2019)