Top Story

The Supreme Court agreed to take up an NRA case alleging that a New York state official violated its free speech rights by warning companies of the “reputational risks” of doing business with the gun group. The NRA was appealing a 2022 decision by the 2nd Circuit, which found that the official did not behave unlawfully, and that even if her actions did violate the First Amendment, she would be protected under the government liability shield known as qualified immunity. [NBC]

Firearms Tracing

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, city governments across the United States used the ATF’s gun trace data to sue gun manufacturers and wholesalers, arguing that they should be held liable for shootings committed with their products. The gun industry then pushed Congress to restrict the agency from releasing detailed data outside of law enforcement — and succeeded. Since 2003, the ATF’s firearms tracing database has been a black box.

Now, The Trace’s Champe Barton reports, a new lawsuit could provide a glimpse inside the firearms tracing database, for only the second time in two decades. The suit was filed by an anti-arms trafficker seeking information on guns that were purchased in the U.S. before being recovered at crime scenes in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Those countries grapple with some of the worst gun homicide rates in the world — and, if released, researchers say the data would offer key insights into cross-border firearms trafficking.

Read more →

What to Know Today

Another major gun case is on the Supreme Court’s docket: Justices will review a federal ban on bump stocks this term, after declining to hear challenges to the prohibition — which was enacted after the 2017 Route 91 mass shooting in Las Vegas, the deadliest in modern U.S. history — at least twice in the previous term. [NPR

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit upheld Illinois’s ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with several similar local laws in the state, throwing out a lower court’s injunction against the restrictions and affirming other decisions keeping the law intact. The ban was enacted in January as part of a sweeping gun reform package. [Reuters/Chicago Sun-Times

U.S. troops who were sent to fire vast numbers of artillery rounds against the Islamic State in 2016 and 2017 developed mysterious, life-shattering mental and physical problems when they returned home, even though most who served on the gun crews had never seen the front lines. The military has struggled to understand the problem, but emerging research provides insight: Repeated blast exposure from firing heavy weapons, including large-caliber machine guns, may cause irreparable brain injury. [The New York Times]  

Following student protests and mounting calls for weapons divestment, Yale University is considering revisiting its policy on investments in weapons manufacturing, the school’s president announced. Current policies prohibit the university from investing in “any retail outlets that market and sell assault weapons to the general public,” but those restrictions do not apply to manufacturers. [Yale Daily News]  

Maine Governor Janet Mills began reaching out to state lawmakers to consider potential legislative responses to the mass shooting in Lewiston last month. Maine’s gun laws are permissive, and reforms have failed to garner support — but mass gun violence, like that in Lewiston, has often spurred policy changes in states where such tragedies have taken place. [News Center Maine/ABC

Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology recently created a zine about their personal connections to gun violence — using writing ink made with the iron from real guns. Of the 24 students in the class, said the instructor, “almost all of them have experience with gun violence.” [Democrat & Chronicle]


The Art of Surviving: Isolated by their gunshot injuries, members of a resilient New York City artists’ collective are forging new identities through poetry, music, and design. (October 2019)