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Woody Phillips, the NRA’s top financial official from 1993 to 2018, testified that he charged the gun rights group for his interstate commute between Texas and Virginia for three years, and that he received $30,000 per month in compensation after he left the organization. Per audio of a 2009 meeting, Phillips, who is a defendant in the New York attorney general’s corruption case against the NRA, worked out a plan to conceal luxury expenses involving the group’s chief executive, Wayne LaPierre. [NBC]


The end of 2023 brought some welcome news to Philadelphia: Police data showed that overall gun violence in the city dropped for the second straight year, with pronounced declines in some of Philly’s highest-crime neighborhoods. For public workers, however, that trend is headed in the opposite direction.

Threats of gun violence and actual attacks on non-police public employees have increased slightly, according to city data; while no city employees outside of law enforcement were shot on the job during the fiscal years between 2019 and 2022, three were shot during fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30, and two have been shot in fiscal year 2024, which began July 1. Recent shootings claimed the lives of a bus driver and a school staffer — part of a crisis that led new mayor Cherelle Parker to declare a public safety emergency. The Trace’s Mensah M. Dean has the story.

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National Rifle Association

Last week, jurors entered a New York courtroom to begin hearing state Attorney General Letitia James’s case against the National Rifle Association and several of its current and former top officials. James has accused those officials of using the nonprofit as a “personal piggy bank,” alleging that they spent NRA money on luxury trips, cushy insider contracts, private jet travel, and fancy suits for longtime (and soon to be former) chief executive Wayne LaPierre, who is also a defendant in the case. 

The trial marks the climax of a series of events that have shaken the NRA’s foundation since The Trace exposed secrecy, self-dealing, and greed within the group in 2019. Trace editor Brian Freskos created a timeline of Trace coverage and some of the most significant developments in the NRA’s ongoing legal saga.

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What to Know Today

During a visit to North Carolina, Vice President Kamala Harris announced $285 million in new funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to increase access to mental health care in schools. The funding will help hire over 14,000 school counselors nationwide. [Courthouse News Service

Texas Governor Greg Abbott renewed concerns that his rhetoric around immigration could incite racial violence after commenting, during an interview on former NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch’s radio show, that the state is “using every tool” to stop people from entering the country apart from “shooting people who come across the border, because of course, the Biden administration would charge us with murder.” [The Texas Tribune

A U.S. district judge in Florida ruled that a federal law banning guns in post offices is unconstitutional. Citing Bruen, the judge noted that while post offices have been around since the country’s founding, federal law did not bar guns in government buildings until 1964 and post offices until 1972. [Reuters

Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against the shooter who killed 10 Black people in a racist massacre at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, in 2022, according to court documents. It marks the first time the Biden administration has sought the death penalty in a new case. [The New York Times

The mayor of Oakland, California, announced plans to resurrect Ceasefire, the marquee violence prevention program that the city began slowly stripping down in 2016. An audit showed that a massive spike in shootings and murders in Oakland was due in part to the slow unraveling of the program. [San Francisco Chronicle/The Oaklandside

Thousands of emergency planning documents for U.S. schools, including procedures for active-shooter situations, were exposed in a highly sensitive database leak. More than 4 million school records were publicly accessible online. [WIRED]


After the Tops Shooting, Residents of Buffalo’s East Side Hoped for Reinvestment. They’re Still Waiting: The tragedy, in which 10 Black people were killed, was a missed opportunity to confront the legacy of segregation, community members say. (May 2023)