The National Rifle Association worked hard to hide the terms of a settlement with its public relations firm, Ackerman McQueen. It went so far as to file a secret suit against Ackerman to keep a lid on details. But it appears the gun group either mistakenly filed an unredacted copy of the settlement in that same case in July, or records that had been confidential in the proceeding have been made public. The settlement, which was noticed by an anonymous blog critical of NRA leadership, confirms what The Trace reported in April: The gun group paid Ackerman $12 million to settle. —Will Van Sant
Last week, President Joe Biden officially announced the launch of a new White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, a move that gun reform advocates have been urging for years. The new office could mark a sea change in how the federal government treats gun violence — but its potential will likely come down to how well the office is run and how much authority it’s given.
The Trace’s Chip Brownlee first wrote about the creation of the office last week, before details about how it would work emerged. Now, for the latest edition of The Trajectory, Brownlee breaks down what we know about the office’s priorities, who’s going to be leading it, and what it means for the state of gun violence prevention policy and legislation. Read more →
What to Know Today
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will double the taxes on guns and ammunition and siphon that money to violence intervention programs, school safety upgrades, and efforts to enforce the state’s extreme risk protection order law. Newsom has been reluctant to raise taxes in recent years, but said this law was different: “This is not a general income tax. … From my perspective, it’s more of a sin tax.” [CalMatters/Associated Press]
A Philadelphia judge dismissed all charges, including first-degree murder, against the former city police officer who shot and killed 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry last month, ruling that prosecutors failed to establish that the shooting was a crime. The District Attorney’s Office immediately appealed the decision. [The Philadelphia Inquirer] Context: The aftermath of Irizarry’s killing, the latest flashpoint in the strained relationship between cops and Philadelphians, has resulted in what many believe to be a test for how city officials police the police.
Donald Trump made waves this week when his campaign briefly released a video showing the former president making an offhand comment about buying a handgun. Because Trump is under criminal indictment, that would have been an illegal purchase; the campaign later said no gun was actually bought. But as at least two big legal challenges make their way toward the Supreme Court, the restrictions barring Trump and other indicted people from buying guns could soon be overturned. [The Nation]
Members of the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus have joined the ranks of Democrats calling for Senator Bob Menendez’s resignation following his indictment on bribery charges last week. Senators Cory Booker and Ed Markey, who formed the caucus earlier this year alongside Menendez, both stated Tuesday that the New Jersey Democrat should step down from office. [The Hill]
Fear of gun violence contributed to a massive growth in home-schooling after the onset of the pandemic, according to a new poll; 62 percent of home-school parents said that concern about on-campus shootings affected their choice. [The Washington Post]
A small but growing number of Indiana schools are using state funds to establish secret “armed response teams,” made up of teachers and other staff who are trained to use deadly force to respond to a shooter. In one district, members of “armed response teams” will have access to loaded handguns stored in biometric safes hidden within schools. [Indianapolis Star]
“Football was everything” for Chicago peewee coach James Bell. His love of the sport helped guide him through a number of losses and immense challenges, including two shootings, one of which left him blind. [Chicago Sun-Times]
As SCOTUS Mulled Bruen, the NRA Lobbied in the Shadows: A quarter of the briefs filed in support of the NRA came from organizations and individuals who have been paid by the gun group. Only one disclosed the connection. (August 2022)