What To Know Today
The National Rifle Association argues to keep its bankruptcy case alive. At hearings in Texas last week, the NRA stressed three claims as it faces motions by the New York attorney general and a former vendor seeking dismissal of its bankruptcy case or the appointment of a trustee who would effectively take over management of the organization. First, the NRA argues that New York is politically hostile and has unfairly targeted the group. Second, the group contends that bad actors have been ousted and proper financial controls are now in place. Finally, the NRA’s witnesses have emphasized that CEO Wayne LaPierre is critical to fundraising and thus to the future financial health of the association. “A lot of these donors have seen him on TV, testifying before Congress, being verbally attacked on television shows, and he has always stood in there and fought,” said Tyler Schropp, who directs the NRA’s advancement office. “They admire that.” Hearings resume Thursday, and the NRA will call additional witnesses, including LaPierre. Closing arguments on the motions are scheduled for Monday, May 3. — Will Van Sant, staff writer
Montana is the latest state to enact law nullifying federal gun restrictions. The Republican governor on Friday signed the measure that bars state police agencies from enforcing any federal ban on guns or ammunition. According to a count by the Associated Press, Montana makes at least a dozen state legislatures that have attempted to enact nullification laws this year. Arizona’s Republican governor signed a similar measure earlier this month. But critics say the laws are symbolic and would likely fail in the face of a constitutional challenge. Motion denied: The governor of Arkansas, a Republican, on Friday vetoed a similar law, saying it was a risk to public safety and law enforcement.
State gun law watch. Other developments from statehouses across the country last week:
- Indiana eliminated fees to obtain a handgun carry permit in a two-year budget plan a week after the Indianapolis shooting. The Republican governor is expected to sign.
- Kansas failed to enact a law lowering the concealed carry age to 18 after the Democratic governor vetoed the Legislature-passed bill that lacked votes for an override.
- Louisiana’s conservative Democratic governor said he will veto a permitless carry bill if it passes. Four states have enacted similar laws this year, and many other legislatures are considering them.
- Nevada Democrats pared back a bill that would have curbed unserialized ghost guns and increased penalties for people who bring guns to banned locations. The latter part of the bill was scrapped amid opposition from gun rights groups, as well as civil rights groups that said the measure could disproportionately target people of color.
Pressure grows for transparency in fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. Police killed the 42-year-old father of seven last week in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, while attempting to serve a search warrant; one resident said Brown was driving away when officers shot at him. The Pasquotank County Sheriff said he would ask a judge as soon as today to allow body camera footage of the incident to be released. “Far too often if you are Black or Brown or poor you can be unarmed and still get killed,” the Reverend William Barber III told his congregation yesterday. He added, a “warrant is not a license to kill.”
A sheriff’s deputy said the man he shot 10 times was armed. The man’s lawyer said he was holding a cordless phone. Isaiah Brown, a 32-year-old Black man from Virginia, is in intensive care after a sheriff’s deputy shot him outside his home last Wednesday. Brown was speaking to a 911 dispatcher about a domestic dispute with his brother when the officer arrived. In newly released audio and video footage of the incident, the officer can be heard saying the man had a gun to his head, but Brown’s attorney said the object was in fact the phone he was using to call 911.
Rash of shootings in New York City leaves at least 26 wounded, 1 dead. There were at least 23 shootings between Friday and Sunday nights. The uptick comes days after Mayor Bill de Blasio introduced a new violence reduction plan. Levels of violence in the city remain elevated after a historic spike last year.