Last week, Gun Owners of America signed on to a brief arguing that the state of Texas “has the same inherent authority to protect its borders as does the U.S. government.” The brief — filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was tasked with deciding whether to issue an injunction — echoed both Texas’s lawyers and election-season talking points from the GOP more broadly, Bloomberg Law reported. While it’s not new for gun rights groups to side with conservatives, Gun Owners of America’s defense of Texas in a very public, high-stakes case is perhaps indicative of the efforts by pro-firearm organizations to capture the political, social, and financial capital that the National Rifle Association has lost.

Though the NRA still has no equal in the gun rights movement, The Trace’s Will Van Sant reported this week, it’s weakened. After years of revenue and membership declines, the group and its longtime boss and fundraising talisman Wayne LaPierre were last month found liable in a civil corruption case. Gun Owners of America — which has long styled itself as a more radical, no-compromise alternative to the NRA — is one of an array of national gun rights organizations seeking to take advantage of the group’s collapse.

To an extent, Van Sant reports, these groups have benefited from disaffected NRA members joining their ranks, but their growth is also linked to the greater popularity of personal defense carry and a hardening of the movement’s more radical, explicitly anti-government flank. In his latest story, Van Sant explores some of the more notable gun interest groups on the rise.

From Our Team

The latest from The Trace.

The Gun Groups Scrambling to Fill the NRA’s Void

As the organization’s social, political, and financial dominance in the gun rights arena wanes, other prominent groups are influencing the movement in newfound ways. Read more → 

Riding the Subway With Guns

Violence on the New York City subway, real and imagined, was invoked by pro-gun Supreme Court justices in their Bruen ruling. Now the decision’s effects may be playing out. Read more →

Amid Record Violence, Philadephia’s Transit System Quietly Unplugged Its New Gun-Detection System

SEPTA didn’t expand its pilot with a company that manages AI gun-detection technology. Read more →

Is There Still Momentum for Community-Based Violence Prevention?

After the racial justice protests of 2020, community violence intervention programs experienced a groundswell of support and funding. Where is the field today, and where is it going? Read more → 

If You’ve Been Shot in Illinois, Here’s How to Get Victim’s Compensation

An updated guide to state funding for victims of violent crime and their loved ones, including recent changes to the application process. Read more →

What to Know This Week

In an era of frequent mass shootings, those searching for accountability are turning to novel legal tactics like prosecuting the parents of perpetrators, targeting social media companies, and suing gun manufacturers. Just this week, Chicago filed a lawsuit against the gun manufacturer Glock, arguing that the company should stop manufacturing its semiautomatic pistols because they are easily modified with conversion devices, known as auto sears, to achieve fully automatic fire. [CNN/Block Club Chicago

As U.S. cities prepare to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, legal experts and gun safety advocates are highlighting the challenges of keeping attendees safe outside of tightly controlled stadiums. Of particular concern are “fan fests” — large, typically outdoor venues with huge monitors that offer people a place to watch the games for free. [The Athletic]

The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in NRA v. Vullo, one of the major gun cases on the docket this session. It isn’t directly about firearm regulation, however: At issue is whether a New York regulator violated the gun group’s free speech rights when she warned the state’s banks and insurers to consider the risks associated with providing services to the firearms industry. A majority of justices appeared likely to side with the NRA. [The New York Times/Reuters]

Violence in Oakland, California, has ebbed and flowed through the years, but recently the city has made headlines for shooting numbers that remain stubbornly high. Community leaders say the violence in the city “is requiring all of us to work together.” For progressive District Attorney Pamela Price, the shootings, and the heightened fears of crime that accompany them, could cost her job. [The Guardian/Mother Jones]

Democratic lawmakers in Colorado are advancing a slate of gun safety bills — including a ban on assault-style weapons, a state excise tax on guns and ammunition, and mandatory secure firearm storage — that collectively represent some of the most significant new restrictions since the 2013 mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater. More than one-fifth of the Legislature is sponsoring at least one firearm measure. [Axios]

In Memoriam

Derrick “Phat Geez” Gant, 28, had just released a new single: “No Gunzone,” a reference to a Philadelphia anti-gun violence Instagram page, which details the emotional and legal tolls of shootings and calls for an end to gun violence in his city. Gant was shot and killed in Philadelphia’s Brewerytown neighborhood on Sunday night. The rapper, who collaborated with fellow Philly native Meek Mill for his 2014 song “Life,” hoped to use his music to reduce gun violence in the city, loved ones told the local CBS affiliate. Gant was close with his family — his cousin said that he had “the biggest smile, the biggest hugs”; his uncle described him as someone who “dare[d] to be different.” “He was a real good dude,” a family friend said. “Kind heart. Always giving. Nobody had a bad thing to say about him.”

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The Hero: “Rich Fierro’s military service had spanned four deployments in America’s war on terror. It had taken him years to recover — to truly come home. And that’s where another war had found him.” [The Washington Post]

Pull Quote

“When I hear narratives like ‘everybody has a gun in Oakland,’ ‘this is Gotham City’ … I’m disappointed that those are the narratives that the national media wants to pick up. There are so many other stories of positivity, optimism and hope that really need to be lifted.”

— Caheri Gutierrez, a resident of Oakland, California, community organizer, and gunshot wound survivor, on how the city is represented in national news coverage, to The Guardian