What To Know Today
Leaked: The ATF’s plan to regulate ghost guns. The 107-page document, obtained by The Reload, comes less than two weeks after the president directed the Department of Justice to formulate a plan to regulate the sale of parts used to create unserialized, DIY firearms. The draft, which is still subject to change, shows that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives plans to propose a rule change that broadens the definition of a firearms receiver to include any unfinished part that “may readily be converted” into a receiver, and require anyone selling firearms receivers to obtain a federal firearms license and serialize them. The changes would require sellers of ghost gun parts to perform background checks on prospective buyers, and failure to get a license for selling unfinished receivers could result in felony charges. The DOJ has until May 8 to publish the proposed rule change, after which there will be a three-month public comment period.
A clearer — but still incomplete — snapshot of the growing prevalence of ghost guns. The draft regulation provides fresh data on the number of ghost guns recovered by police departments nationwide. According to the document, recoveries of ghost guns have increased dramatically from 2016 (1,750) through 2020 (8,712). Overall, there have been nearly 24,000 in that time period. That includes 325 ghost guns that were implicated in homicides or attempted homicides. The draft notes that recoveries are likely a severe undercount, owing to reporting failures by local authorities. Related: The Trace’s Alain Stephens was among the first to report on the use of ghost guns in crimes.
Minnesota jury finds officer who killed George Floyd guilty of all three charges. After less than 12 hours of deliberation, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. “Painfully earned justice has arrived for George Floyd’s family and the community here in Minneapolis, but today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country and even the world,” read a statement from Floyd’s family. “Justice for Black America is justice for all of America.”
Just before the verdict was announced, police fatally shot a 16-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio. An officer shot Ma’khia Bryant four times moments after arriving at her foster home while responding to a 911 call about an altercation between girls there. Bryant’s aunt told The Columbus Dispatch that her niece was involved in a fight. She said the victim had a knife, but dropped it before officers shot her. Within hours of the incident, the city released portions of the officer’s body camera footage. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating.
“America was home for her:” Family remembers Atlanta spa victim in first interview. The 69-year-old Suncha Kim was one of six Asian women killed in last month’s shooting spree. Speaking anonymously with The Washington Post, three immediate relatives remembered the generous and hard-working woman who came to America when she was 29, and fell in love with her adopted country. Kim’s family members also issued a call for continued advocacy against anti-Asian hate in the run-up to the Atlanta gunman’s trial. “We just ask that the AAPI community not let our mothers and grandmothers, our ummunees and halmunees, die in vain,” said one of her children, using Korean terms for moms and grandmothers. “We have to make sure that the victims, their names will go on forever.”
NRA board member decries organization’s leadership. “I don’t see anything there that’s salvageable,” said Owen “Buz” Mills, a 12-year veteran of the board who owns an Arizona firearms training academy, during the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy trial. He spoke on behalf of dissident directors who want an independent investigator appointed to examine allegations of financial malfeasance by leadership. Mills described CEO Wayne LaPierre as a peerless fundraiser, but a “train wreck” of a manager and recalled telling board members at the NRA’s 2019 annual meeting — as critical press revelations rocked the group — that the organization had brought trouble on itself. “The board had failed to provide adequate supervision and direction to our executive staff and consequently, we were out of control,” Mills testified. He rejected claims by NRA attorneys that corrective action had been taken and said reform is needed. “I believe that the management is corrupted,” Mills said, “and I believe that the board is corrupted.” Also yesterday: Portions of a deposition given by NRA President Carolyn Meadows, a LaPierre ally, were read to the court. Meadows stated that in early 2019, after the NRA’s general counsel advised her that they could be subpoenaed, she destroyed notes and records from meetings with board members and employees. “Some I shredded,” Meadows said, “some I actually burned.” Today, the NRA, which is seeking to reorganize in Texas, will begin presenting its case for allowing the bankruptcy to proceed. — Will Van Sant, staff writer
LAPD must curtail use of “less lethal” rounds, court says. A U.S. District Court judge in California granted a preliminary injunction to Black Lives Matter protesters who sued the police department for using projectiles against crowds during demonstrations on multiple occasions in the last year. More from The Trace: Experts told us last June that less lethal munitions can still kill and were likely to escalate conflict, and numerous protesters across the country have sued police for injuries related to the firing of the projectiles.
44 — the number of trans people killed in the United States in 2020, the deadliest year on record, according to a new database. About two-thirds were killed with guns. This year is already on pace to set a new high, with 15 people killed so far. [Insider]