Top Story

Last June, New York lawmakers approved a measure, set to take effect after four years, requiring microstamping in all new semiautomatic pistols. It came with a caveat, Gothamist reports: The state’s criminal justice agency has to certify that the technology, which imprints a unique identifier on bullet casings when they fire, is “viable” before the law can proceed. But the agency blew past its December 2022 deadline, and now aims to conclude its study before the end of this year — meaning that the gun law is already months behind schedule, and the four-year timeline hasn’t yet started.

Laws to expand the use of microstamping have passed in a few states and the District of Columbia. The idea is that the technology could let investigators identify where a gun was first sold, and to whom, using a gun’s unique serial number. Microstamping is celebrated by gun reform advocates, The Trace’s Chip Brownlee reported in January, but it’s also garnered intense criticism from opponents who question its effectiveness and say it puts an undue burden on gun manufacturers. What’s the evidence that the technology works?

Read more on microstamping from The Trace →

What to Know Today

It’s been three years since a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd. While the protests have quieted, Black people are still disproportionately killed by police — and the pain of indirect exposure to these killings endures. [The New York Times]

The Connecticut House approved the most wide-ranging gun safety legislative package since regulations enacted after the Sandy Hook massacre. The new measures need to be approved by the Senate before the session ends on June 7. [Associated Press]

In the year since Sandy Hook families reached a settlement with Remington, in a lawsuit alleging the gunmaker had irresponsibly marketed the AR-15-style weapon used in the massacre, other shooting victims have filed a wave of similar suits against firearm manufacturers. [The Guardian]

Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department has a plan to recruit lifeguards, amid a national shortage, to open more public pools this summer. One reason? The city wants to provide kids with safe spaces, and potentially reduce youth gun violence. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

A Washington, D.C., police officer allegedly told Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio about his impending arrest and advised that the group switch to encrypted text messaging before the January 6 insurrection. He’s reportedly not the only D.C. cop sympathetic to right-wing extremism. [POLITICO]

Last February, a Chicago judge barred the use of ballistics matching, or firearms forensics analysis, as testimony in a criminal trial, the first judge in the country to eliminate the analysis in court outright. The decision shone a light on evidence that the practice might be junk science — and it could change how gun crimes are prosecuted. [The Watch]

Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the sentencing judge accepted the federal government’s recommendation to apply a terrorism enhancement to Rhodes’s term. During trial, prosecutors argued that the founder of the far-right extremist militia, along with other Oath Keepers, had stockpiled firearms in a Virginia hotel before the insurrection. [NPR/ABC/The Guardian]

A new terrorism advisory from the Department of Homeland Security warned that the U.S. “remains in a heightened threat environment” that could intensify in the lead-up to the 2024 general election. The bulletin linked the shooter who killed eight people at a mall in Allen, Texas, with violent extremist ideologies. [NBC/National Terrorism Advisory System]


Why Don’t Restrictions on Guns Cover the Police?: Experts address a reader’s question on law enforcement exemptions in U.S. gun laws. (November 2022)