From the start, the gun case against Hunter Biden was unusual. For one thing, the president’s son, who was found guilty of all counts at his federal trial in Delaware this week, always faced a likely conviction. As The Trace’s Champe Barton explained last week, Biden was charged with three felonies related to the purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver in October 2018: Two concerned him lying on federal gun-buying forms, and one was related to his possession of the weapon while unlawfully using drugs. In a 2021 memoir — clips of which were played during the trial — Biden wrote at length about his addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol. That, combined with vivid testimony from key witness Hallie Biden, his brother’s widow, left little room to convince jurors of his innocence. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

Writing in Politico, former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori said that these types of charges are “the bread and butter of federal prosecutors” and almost always result in convictions. But Khardori and other legal experts noted that such gun charges are rarely brought on their own: The charge related to the gun-buying forms is seldom verifiable, and the drug charge is often added as part of a broader case.

Over the course of the case, too, the younger Biden gained a surprising base of defenders: The Wall Street Journal reported that several prominent gun rights activists, including one who called Biden “the deepest swamp monster,” rallied behind the president’s son over what they considered a “bogus crime.” Many centered their arguments on the drug user ban — Biden’s lawyers tried to get the case thrown out on constitutional questions related to the Supreme Court’s 2022 Bruen decision. Twice in 2023, defendants ensnared by the drug user gun ban successfully used the ruling to challenge the law in court.

Biden is widely expected to appeal his conviction, again on Second Amendment grounds. As CNN reported, his effort could potentially get help from the Supreme Court, should justices side against the government in U.S. v. Rahimi. As of this writing, no opinion has been issued in that case, which deals with a 1996 federal law that bans the possession of firearms by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. But per Andrew Willinger, the executive director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law, a ruling in favor of Rahimi would give Biden “a lot of ammunition” in his appeal: Such a decision could limit the government’s ability to bar some people from having guns.

Meanwhile, the case against Biden has put firearm reform advocates, including his father, in an awkward position. Not long after the guilty verdict, the president gave a speech touting his administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence; he’s vowed not to pardon his son or commute the eventual sentence. And gun safety groups have been silent about the conviction and appeal, Politico reported. The reason for keeping mum, explained one unnamed gun violence prevention activist, was “all about politics.” “This is just: ‘No, we’re not going to get in the middle of this shitstorm,” the activist said. “‘Nothing good can come of it.’”

From The Trace

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What to Know This Week

From 2014 to 2019, U.S. soldiers were almost nine times more likely to die by suicide than by enemy fire, according to a new Pentagon study examining the five-year period. The report found that suicide was the leading cause of death for active-duty soldiers, and that gunshot wounds accounted for 65 percent of the deaths. [USA TODAY

“Accomplice liability” laws — which allow people who assisted in, but did not commit, a crime to be charged for it — make domestic violence victims particularly vulnerable to prosecution. For Pat Johnson, who says a longtime abuser pointed a gun at her before he killed three people, that meant being sentenced to life in prison. Johnson isn’t the only one. [The Marshall Project

When 40-year-old Yong Yang experienced an apparent bipolar episode last month, Yang’s mother called the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for help, seeking an alternative crisis response that doesn’t necessarily involve police. But city police officers were called anyway — and one shot and killed Yang. What went wrong? [LAist]

Newtown High School’s class of 2024 graduated in Connecticut this week. For dozens of the seniors, the ceremony came with the unique burden of having survived a school shooting — the knowledge that they were walking the stage without the 20 classmates who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School 12 years ago. [Associated Press

Montana had the highest suicide rate of any state from 2021 through November 2023; in 2022, 67 percent — 12 percent higher than the national average — involved a gun. Suicide is often steeped in secrecy and shame, and in Montana, where firearms are entwined with a rugged, frontier ethos, there is little political will to support reform. [The New York Times]

Agya K. Aning contributed to this news roundup.

In Memoriam

Luis Manuel Arguello-Inglis, 19, wanted to help people — and he’d determined that the best way to do that was to work as a firefighter, his mother told the San Francisco Chronicle, a career path he’d already started moving toward by getting his EMT certification. Arguello-Inglis was shot and killed last week at a park in San Francisco, the city where he was born and raised. The San Jose State University student was ambitious and focused on his “high hopes” for life, his father remembered. He was naturally athletic — he was like his father that way, Arguello-Inglis’s mom told The San Francisco Standard — and loved soccer, basketball, skateboarding, and martial arts. “He was the go-to guy. He had a sense of what was good and what was bad,” Arguello-Inglis’s father said. He added, “I think the world’s missing out on a great human being.”

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Pull Quote

“In Sandy Hook, what happened is always kind of looming over us. I think leaving … even if we’ll be more isolated away from people who have stories like us, we’ll be more free to kind of write our own story.”

— Matt Holden, 17, who was in a classroom down the hall from the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, on graduating from high school, to the Associated Press