Featured Story

Jury selection for the trial of Hunter Biden, who is accused of lying about past drug use when he purchased a gun in 2018, begins today. The case against the president’s son opens the question of whether and when someone with a history of mental illness should have their gun rights taken away, and highlights the inconsistent laws and ethical dilemmas at the intersection of the Second Amendment and mental health. [CNN/Mother Jones]


The unexpected death of a child leaves families not only to cope with overwhelming grief but also with thousands of dollars in burial costs. In Illinois, the Mychal Moultry Jr. Funeral and Burial Assistance Program was created to ease the financial burden for low-income families who lose children to gun violence — but nearly a year after the aid measure went into effect, the program is reaching few applicants. Only eight people across the state have applied, and just two of them have received funds.

That number is far below the 203 children under 17 who’ve been fatally shot in Illinois since July 1, 2022, and whose families could have been eligible to apply for the funding. Even Mychal Moultry, the father of the program’s namesake, and people who advocated for the program were unaware of its status. The Trace’s Rita Oceguera has the story.

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What to Know Today

Bank of America has backed off its blanket ban on lending to companies that make assault-style weapons for civilians. The bank reversed course amid pressure from politicians in Republican-led states like Texas and Florida that have targeted financial institutions for adopting policies that restrict business with the firearms or fossil fuels industries. It announced that it will instead make lending decisions on a case-by-case basis. [Bloomberg

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, signed legislation to reduce prison sentences for incarcerated survivors of domestic abuse. Stitt initially vetoed the Oklahoma Survivors Act — inspired in part by April Wilkens, who was sentenced to life in prison for fatally shooting an abusive ex-boyfriend — but it was revived and overwhelmingly passed by the state’s GOP-dominated Legislature last month. [Bolts]

Far-right extremists, right-wing pundits, politicians, and supporters of Donald Trump responded to the former president’s guilty verdict on 34 felony counts last week with incendiary rhetoric. In far-right online spaces, the rhetoric included characterizing the conviction as a declaration of “war” and a “call to arms.” [WIRED

The National Rifle Association reported spending $540,000 on federal lobbying in the first quarter of 2024 — the least the group has spent in the first period of the year since 2009, according to lobbying disclosures. The reporting comes as the organization tries to emerge from a dramatic erosion in dues revenue and years of scandal, including the recent civil corruption trial in which a New York jury found the NRA and its former CEO Wayne LaPierre liable. The new leaders tasked with confronting the group’s issues, however, include people tied to past misuse of NRA funds and a board member who conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election. [OpenSecrets

ICYMI, via The Trace’s Weekly Briefing newsletter:

Veterans are at a particularly high, and increasing, risk of dying by gun suicide, a trend the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been trying to curb for years. A new, artificial intelligence-powered suicide prevention program from the agency uses an algorithm to identify veterans who need extra support — but it prioritizes white men, and doesn’t take sexual violence into account, which affects women far more often than men. [The Fuller Project

After Black Cleveland police Sgt. Vincent Montague shot another Black man, he got promoted. Then in 2020, he crossed the blue line, marching with Black Lives Matter supporters and crusading for police reform, and his life went off the rails. [The Marshall Project]

Data Point

65 percent — the drop in NRA spending on lobbying in state capitols from 2020 through 2023, going from a record high of $1.3 million in 2020 to $458,000 in 2023. [OpenSecrets]