Missouri officials asked the Supreme Court to revive the state’s “Second Amendment Sanctuary Act,” a controversial law that fines local police who enforce federal firearm laws that are not also state laws, while it fights a federal appeals court’s decision to block it. The emergency request puts another high-stakes Second Amendment case on the high court’s docket. [USA TODAY]
Context: Missouri’s law is at the forefront of a Republican movement against federal gun restrictions that was reinvigorated by the election of President Joe Biden. Many sanctuary laws are preemptive and largely symbolic, but Missouri’s packs a significant legal punch.
From Our Team
What does it mean for a weapon to be in “common use”?
That question has been the subject of legal battles since 2008, when the Supreme Court ruled that weapons in “common use” can’t be banned — and the debate has taken on new urgency since the high court upended the standard for determining the constitutionality of gun laws last year, particularly in cases involving bans on AR-15-style rifles and high-capacity magazines. Those who support such prohibitions argue that the right measure is the frequency with which a weapon is actually used for self-defense; those opposed say that common ownership equals common use.
There is no precise accounting of the number of guns in the U.S., which might partially be due to the gun lobby’s longstanding opposition to government collection of firearms ownership data. Now, The Trace’s Will Van Sant reports that the gun industry’s trade group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, is complicating the “common use” debate further: The organization’s unsupported evidence about the number of high-capacity magazines in the U.S. has been introduced in several cases that could have major implications for gun restrictions nationwide. Read more →
What to Know Today
The gunman who set off a smoke bomb and opened fire in a subway car in Brooklyn, New York, in April 2022 was sentenced to 10 concurrent life terms plus a 10-year consecutive term in prison. The decision followed an emotional hearing where the shooter was confronted by three victims and listened to written testimony from two others. [Associated Press/New York] Context: New York transit workers told The Trace last month that they’re still not adequately trained to deal with gunfire — and a lack of protocols leaves MTA employees and riders in danger.
The inspector general for the Small Business Administration estimates that at least 17 percent of the $1.2 trillion handed out by the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19 relief funds was obtained through fraud. Justice Department and court records reveal that street gangs got in on the act, stealing millions of dollars from those programs to buy guns and sometimes employ straw purchasers to obtain them. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Massachusetts House leaders unveiled a revised version of a long-delayed firearms reform bill that had drawn ire from pro-gun activists. The new legislation softens many of the provisions that Second Amendment groups took particular issue with, including adding a grandfather clause to a ban on some assault-style weapons. A state House committee is holding a public hearing on the bill today. [The Boston Globe]
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito again lifted a block on the Biden administration’s ability to regulate ghost guns, granting a temporary stay on a Texas-based district judge’s decision to block enforcement of rules requiring ghost gun sellers to comply with federal firearms laws. The stay comes after the Supreme Court ruled in August that the regulations could remain in effect while legal challenges play out. [CNN]
A new report from the Texas Council on Family Violence, a nonprofit coalition, found that the domestic violence homicides in the state increased 8 percent last year, and that the total number was the second-highest in a decade. Over 70 percent of those killed were shot. [Texas Observer]
A man tried to attack Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, twice in one day, entering the state Capitol once with a handgun and later with an assault-style rifle after posting bail, according to a state spokesperson. Evers was on the hit list last year of a shooter accused of killing a retired Wisconsin county judge. [The New Republic]
Over the past year, schools across the U.S. have been terrorized by an unprecedented wave of hoax shooting threats, part of a larger phenomenon known as “swatting,” where callers report nonexistent crimes in the hopes of provoking a police response. Many of the calls have followed distinct patterns — suggesting that the hoaxes might be part of a coordinated campaign. [The Washington Post]
Gun-related deaths among U.S. children and teenagers under the age of 18 have increased at an “alarming” rate over the past decade, according to a new analysis published in the medical journal Pediatrics. The findings support other data showing that firearm injuries are now the leading cause of death in young Americans. [The Guardian/The New York Times]
87 percent — the increase in the rate of firearm fatalities among American children under 18 from 2011 through 2021. [The New York Times]