What To Know Today
A bid by the gun group to toss the suit on technical grounds or move it is rejected. In a hearing, lawyers for the National Rifle Association argued that New York Attorney General Letitia James’s case — which alleges numerous violations of state nonprofit law first unearthed by The Trace — should either be thrown out on technical grounds or moved to federal court to consolidate it with an NRA countersuit. At one point during the oral arguments, a lawyer for the organization underscored the stakes, saying, “The NRA is fighting for its very existence.” Judge Joel M. Cohen was unconvinced, denying the motions after a short deliberation. “It would be inappropriate in these circumstances to find that the attorney general cannot pursue her claims in state court just because one of the defendants prefers to proceed in federal court,” he said. James’s suit now proceeds toward discovery in state court in Manhattan, potentially offering a broader window into the scale and breadth of the organization’s alleged financial misdeeds. Lawyers for the state of New York expect the case to go to trial in early 2022. “Today’s order reaffirms what we’ve known all along: The NRA does not get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions,” said James. — Champe Barton, reporter
Discredited gun researcher out at the Department of Justice. John Lott, who was hired last fall as a senior advisor for research and statistics in the agency’s Office of Justice Programs, left the position this week. Lott’s departure was revealed in an email sent by the Crime Prevention Research Center, a nonprofit he founded that publishes research papers and articles with a pro-gun bent. Lott will return to the CPRC as its president. Respected academics have repeatedly discredited Lott’s work, and as The Trace reported in October, gun violence researchers were alarmed that Lott’s appointment could allow him to influence the release of firearms data. Jennifer Mascia has the follow-up.
A 9-year-old’s death tragically underscores the ongoing gun violence surge. The girl was fatally shot Wednesday morning in Philadelphia, where later that day nine separate shootings left three people dead and nine wounded in the span of less than four hours. Through January 17, the city has recorded a 33 percent year-over-year rise in shootings, according to Philadelphia Police data, with at least 10 people under the age of 18 among the victims. An activist is hunger striking until the city declares a gun violence emergency: “I’m sure if Martin Luther King was alive today, he would make this [gun violence] one of his priorities,” said the 63-year-old, who began his protest in front of City Hall on Monday’s national holiday.
New policy stops member of Congress from bringing a gun onto the House floor. Security flagged Republican Andy Harris of Maryland yesterday after he set off a metal detector, an interaction witnessed by HuffPost’s Matt Fuller. Harris, who has repeatedly criticized the new security measure put in place after the Capitol attack, then failed to persuade a colleague to hold his gun while he went to vote. Harris later returned unarmed. As we reported this week, members of Congress are allowed to keep firearms in their offices, but those guns are not permitted in the House and Senate chambers.
Capitol rioter pictured with zip ties may have stashed weapons outside, court filings allege. Eric Munchel has been charged with several offenses related to his actions during the January 6 siege, including conspiracy and violent entry into the Capitol. In a pre-trial detention motion arguing against his release, prosecutors said federal agents found more than 15 guns when they searched his Tennessee home, including assault-style rifles and a sniper rifle with a tripod. Related: A sheriff’s deputy in Florida was arrested for allegedly threatening to shoot federal officials after the insurrection.
20 percent — the share of the more than 140 people charged over the Capitol attack who are current or former members of the military. An estimated 7 percent of all Americans are veterans. [NPR]