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Thanks to NRA-backed preemption laws, in much of the country, cities can’t enact their own firearm regulations. After the mass shooting at a Super Bowl victory rally last week in Kansas City, Missouri Democrats are pushing a plan that would restore local governments’ authority to set stricter limits on guns via an amendment to the state constitution. [The Kansas City Star]


Immigration has long been a source of heated division in American politics, but the issue has reached a crescendo in recent months. Just weeks ago, a feud over immigration policy between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the White House boiled over into a standoff between federal agents and Abbott’s state forces, prompting hundreds of Trump supporters, Christian nationalists, and conspiracy theorists to converge on the southern border for “Take Our Border Back” rallies. And in Congress, Republicans blocked a bipartisan immigration deal and impeached the country’s top immigration official, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

According to Emine Fidan Elcioglu, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, gun culture may be fueling the widening adoption of anti-immigrant politics. Elcioglu spent several years studying a paramilitary group that patrolled the border in rural Arizona, including by embedding with them in the desert. She spoke with The Trace’s Chip Brownlee about her research on the role of guns within the militia.

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NRA Trial

On Friday, jurors began weighing the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case against the National Rifle Association and its former chief executive Wayne LaPierre. The morning began with some attorneys for the defense angrily denouncing the opposing side for, they argued, having gone beyond the scope of what was presented at trial during the state’s closing summation the previous day. LaPierre’s attorney even raised the specter of a mistrial.

Judge Joel M. Cohen, however, showed no sympathy, saying that if any side had strayed during closing arguments, it was the defense. “Be careful what bricks you throw,” he told the attorneys, before calling in the jurors. The Trace’s Will Van Sant, reporting from the Manhattan courtroom, has the story on the first day of deliberations.

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What to Know Today

Over the past month, the New York Police Department has described a “crime wave,” including a shooting in Times Square, involving young men living in the city’s shelters for migrants. While several high-profile cases have unsettled some city leaders, police data doesn’t point toward a surge in crime. [The New York Times

A growing number of international travelers are opting out of trips to the U.S., according to a recent study, with 12 million fewer visitors in 2023 than in 2019. For some, fears about gun violence and personal safety are at the root of their avoidance. [USA TODAY

Minnesota legislators are facing threats for proposing gun safety measures, according to a Democratic senator who authored legislation that would block the sale of certain assault-style weapons and firearm accessories. The senator said such reactions might deter other lawmakers from introducing or supporting gun reform bills. [Detroit Lakes Tribune

In 2021, Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, launched Field Ethos, a hunting- and outdoors-focused lifestyle brand and quarterly magazine with an aesthetic that reads like a rugged, gun-loving version of cottagecore. Trump Jr. claims that he thinks of Field Ethos as totally separate from his political work — but a deeper dive shows that it’s all an extension of his father’s campaign strategy. [Politico

Information about which gun stores sell the most firearms used in crimes has been kept secret for two decades, but a newly unearthed list sheds light: Large retailers like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are among the more than 1,300 outlets targeted by the ATF last year, as are smaller dealers connected to recent high-profile mass shootings. [USA TODAY]

Hundreds of Chicago Police officers are tasked with responding to emergencies each day, yet for many residents, especially those living in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods, calls to 911 can yield little help or go entirely ignored. An analysis of city data indicates one cause of the problem: Officers assigned to “rapid response duty” are rarely dispatched to 911 calls, and instead spend most of their time conducting traffic stops. [Block Club Chicago]

Data Point

6,153 — the number of 911 calls handled by Chicago Police officers assigned to what the department calls rapid response duty, with the stated mission of responding to emergencies, in 2023; in comparison, rapid response officers conducted at least 36,000 traffic stops in the first half of that year. In 2022, officers on rapid response duty handled 14,306 emergency calls; in 2019, they handled 40,281. [Block Club Chicago]