What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: Where the leading New York City mayoral candidates stand on addressing gun violence. Voters in New York head to the polls today for a crowded Democratic primary, where the winner is all but assured to become mayor after November’s general election. Gun violence, public safety, and the role of policing have taken center stage. Though shooting rates in the city are nowhere near the historic highs of the 1970s and 1980s, that hasn’t stopped some candidates from comparing the current state of affairs to that era. Shootings are up compared to this time in 2020 and far higher than in 2019. From more police (Eric Adams and Andrew Yang) and gun buybacks (Kathryn Garcia) to cutting the police budget and investing in community-based solutions (Maya Wiley and Scott Stringer), the candidates’ proposed solutions range from the progressive wing of the party to the conservative establishment. You can read more about the five leading candidates’ proposals here. — Chip Brownlee, Fellow
A warning sign for states that have tried to nullify federal gun laws? Justice Department lawyers recently told officials in Missouri that a new law banning state police from enforcing federal gun laws flouted the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Many legal scholars have echoed the Biden DOJ’s reasoning that states can’t actually nullify federal laws, though local police departments can limit cooperation with federal agents. Now, St. Louis and St. Louis County are suing the state, arguing the new law is unconstitutional and makes it harder for local police to do their jobs. That comes days after a police chief in the state resigned in protest over the law, saying it would undermine protections for officers who lawfully seize civilian guns. Related: A number of GOP-controlled statehouses have recently enacted such laws, including in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Oklahoma, and Texas. But Missouri’s law generally goes further in specifying actual fines for offending officers.
Federal appeals court blocks overturn of California’s assault weapons ban. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling earlier this month that the state’s three-decade-old ban was unconstitutional. After his ruling, Benitez granted a 30-day stay to allow the state time to appeal. The latest decision extends that stay while litigation over the assault weapons ban proceeds through the courts.
SCOTUS declines to hear a second public carry case over New York permitting scheme. The court rejected the petition in Libertarian Party of Erie County v. Cuomo, in which the plaintiffs were challenging a state law that requires people applying for handgun licenses to demonstrate a pressing need to carry firearms in public. The court is already hearing a case on the law in the high-stakes New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Corlett. As we’ve reported, that has huge implications for how the court views restrictions on public gun carrying, not only for New York’s strict requirements but for the several states with similar laws. Timeframe for oral arguments in Corlett? As early as November, suggests Jacob Charles of Duke’s Center for Firearms Law. The denial in the latest case, he adds, could suggest the court is looking to rule narrowly in Corlett.
A Senate dealmaker suggests Dems will prioritize unity over scope for gun reform legislation. Senator Chris Murphy, who has been heavily involved in bipartisan talks over background checks for firearms, wants to ensure the party is able to get 50 votes even if it requires a more piecemeal approach to the effort. “I’m not interested in bringing a proposal to the Senate floor that can’t even get 50,” he tells Politico. “And the quickest way to get 50 is to keep all the Democrats together.” That, the outlet reports, could shift focus away from things like universal background checks and toward expanding existing federal background check rules to include some private sellers by reclassifying who counts as being “in the business” of selling. That approach, already more narrow than what’s passed the House, recently broke down in bipartisan talks with Republicans.
2.8 per day — the number of children aged 11 and younger who have been injured or killed by guns so far this year. That’s compared to the 2.7 per day average (997 in total) last year, the highest since Gun Violence Archive started tracking in 2014. Over the weekend, two kids in the Bronx were some of the latest victims. [Gun Violence Archive]