What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: Sandy Hook families settle lawsuit against Remington. The gunmaker will pay $73 million to families of five adults and four children killed in the 2012 massacre. The agreement ends a nearly eight-year legal battle in which the families sued the now-bankrupt company for negligent marketing of its weapons, including its Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that the perpetrator used in the attack. This is the second time in 22 years that a major gun manufacturer settled a lawsuit over shootings committed with its guns — and one of the only cases to win a payout for victims. The case was also one of only a handful to surmount the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, the federal law that shields gunmakers from legal claims stemming from crimes committed with their products. One window opens, another closes: As a part of the settlement, Remington agreed to allow the release of thousands of marketing documents it turned over during discovery. However, the settlement also means the gunmaker won’t have to disclose any further materials, saving it from a February 17 deadline that may have shed additional light on the company’s internal workings. “Some might consider it a loss for the gun violence prevention movement that this case is not going to trial,” said Jacob Charles, director of Duke University’s Center for Firearms Law. “But now that it’s closed, the suit becomes precedent — future lawsuits can cite it as definitive proof of a legal avenue through the gun industry’s legal immunity.” Champe Barton has more here.
New York City announces $236M investment in youth summer jobs. Mayor Eric Adams has spent the last several weeks promoting his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” a public safety plan that attempts to meet demands of both community violence intervention advocates and traditional law enforcement. On Tuesday, the mayor announced a new funding commitment that he says will permanently fund 100,000 annual jobs under the city’s NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program and other unspecified city programs, fulfilling one component of his safety plan. Before the pandemic, the city had about 75,000 annual slots for youth summer jobs. Research has shown the programs can be very successful in preventing violence — assuming they are funded consistently.
New York will check interstate bus passengers’ baggage for illegal guns. Gothamist first reported the new Port Authority policy, which follows recommendations from the mayor’s safety plan as well as Governor Kathy Hochul’s efforts to curb interstate gun trafficking. While it’s unclear whether the new policy will withstand legal scrutiny, experts told Gothamist that it could act as a deterrent to traffickers even if the total number of illegal weapons it recovers is small.
A plurality of Texans support stricter gun laws — but the share is shrinking. Forty-three percent of Texans support stricter gun laws, the smallest share since November 2015, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll. Meanwhile, 34 percent support leaving gun laws as they are, and 16 percent want them eased. Support for stricter gun laws decreased 8 percentage points from October 2019. Last year, the Texas Legislature passed a law eliminating permitting requirements for handguns.
Democratic senators ask YouTube to take down ghost gun instructional videos. Gun-related videos violating the site’s terms of service have proliferated for years. In 2019, we reported that YouTube was hosting videos with 3D-printed gun blueprints, and that two months later, the company was still allowing such content. In December, NBC News reported the video streaming giant was still failing to keep such content off its platform. This week, Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Cory Booker, and Ed Markey sent a letter to YouTube asking the company to clarify its policies and what it intends to do about the ongoing policy violations. “Until YouTube devotes the time and resources necessary to actually enforce its Community Guidelines, the claim that safety is your highest priority rings hollow,” they write.
Over 4,500 — the number of threats and “inappropriate comments” targeting federal judges in 2021, according to Ronald Davis, director of the U.S. Marshals Service. Davis added that the risks to the federal judges and courts his agency is tasked with defending is “growing exponentially.” [Reuters]