What To Know Today

Illinois is one of 19 states with a red flag law. It has used it sparingly. In 2019, the state enacted a law allowing concerned family members or the police to petition a court to temporarily confiscate a person’s guns if they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. But state data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal shows that the law was invoked 37 times to seize guns in 2021 and 51 times in 2020. By comparison, Florida, California, and New York used the orders far more aggressively — 2,354; 984; and 255 times in 2020, respectively. In Lake County, Illinois, where the Highland Park shooting took place, authorities didn’t use the red flag law in 2021, and used it once in 2020. While police investigated the Highland Park shooter over alleged violent threats on two occasions in 2019, he later legally bought guns and a red flag order was never initiated against him. From the Trace: In 2019, we reported that Illinois also infrequently used the law and that many advocates were trying to increase public awareness efforts. 

Poll finds majority support for gun reforms among Texans. The latest survey from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin found that 52 percent of respondents support stricter gun laws, up 9 percentage points since February. Meanwhile, 14 percent of voters supported loosening gun laws and 28 percent wanted them left the same. Overall, there were predictable divergences based on party affiliation, but there was majority support for several policies: 78 percent supported requiring background checks on all gun sales; 70 percent favored raising the age to legally purchase a gun from 18 to 21; and 66 percent indicated support for red flag laws. A plurality of respondents (43 percent) said the country would be less safe with more guns, compared to 34 percent who say the country would be more safe with more guns. At the same time, a majority — 54 percent — disapproved of the job President Biden was doing on gun violence. Taken after the Uvalde shooting, the poll’s authors said the overall findings on support for gun reforms tracked with past polls.

Gunman assassinates former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The longest-serving Japanese premier, 67, was giving a speech when an assailant reportedly carrying a homemade gun shot him twice. He was pronounced dead several hours later. It was an especially shocking act in a country where gun violence is exceedingly rare and guns are very difficult to obtain. Last year, one person died and four others were injured in just 10 shootings in the country of 126 million, according to statistics from the country’s National Police Agency that exclude suicides and accidents.

The gun industry’s trade group retained lawyers who won Bruen case in suit against separate New York law. The National Shooting Sports Foundation said Paul Clement and Erin Murphy would represent their appeal in a case joined by 14 gun manufacturers, distributors, and retailers challenging the constitutionality of New York’s law classifying the unlawful or improper marketing or sale of guns as a public nuisance. The law allows suits against gunmakers that can sidestep their federal liability protections. Former Solicitor General Clement and litigator Murphy, who successfully argued the Bruen case, recently formed their own firm after their old firm, Kirkland & Ellis, announced it would stop handling gun cases after Bruen.

Officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice steps down from role in small-town Pennsylvania. On Tuesday, Timothy Loehmann was sworn in on a probationary period as the sole officer for Tioga, a small town in north central Pennsylvania. But after a swift backlash, Loehmann tendered his resignation. In 2014, the then-Cleveland Police Department officer fatally shot Tamir, a Black 12-year-old who was playing with a toy gun outside a rec center. Loehmann was later fired for not disclosing that he was previously dismissed from another police force. 

Americans purchased 1.5 million guns last month, according to our gun sales tracker. This seasonally adjusted figure includes about 880,000 handguns and 590,000 long guns (rifles and shotguns). The total figure was up 6 percent from the previous June and the highest monthly tally since last September.

Data Point

6 — the share of 17 fatal shootings by officers of the Vallejo Police Department between 2011 and 2020 that involved an officer using deadly force while still being investigated for a previous killing. [Open Vallejo/ProPublica]