After days of halting business on the House floor, far-right Republicans in Congress made one thing clear: If they have their way, the ATF’s new pistol brace rule is not long for this world. On Monday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement to temporarily end an impasse with a faction of hard-right lawmakers who blocked legislative progress on the House floor, retribution for McCarthy’s debt ceiling deal with President Joe Biden. Key to that agreement, The Washington Post reports, was the demand that the House move forward with a resolution to roll back the pistol brace rule. The House approved that legislation on Tuesday; Biden has already threatened to veto such a measure.
Pistol braces are popular accessories intended to increase the accuracy and stability of AR-15-style pistols. The rule requires owners of the devices — which have been used in recent mass shootings — to either remove and destroy the accessories, or register the braced firearms with the ATF as short-barreled rifles. The rule, The Trace’s Chip Brownlee reported, has been met with fierce resistance from gun rights groups and Republicans since it was introduced.
A number of gun rights groups have brought their battle to court, and their efforts could make the Republicans’ rollback legislation redundant: The notoriously conservative 5th Circuit, which granted a limited injunction against the rule last month, is set to hear oral arguments in their challenge later this month.
What to Know Today
In response to the attack at Santa Fe High School, Texas lawmakers approved legislation to prevent violence in schools by establishing “threat assessment” teams. But the plan has been plagued by confusion over how the teams operate and what they do to intervene when a child exhibits worrying behavior. [The Texas Tribune]
New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, the first woman to hold that position, announced her resignation after a year and a half on the job. Under her leadership, the NYPD focused on getting guns off the street, and, at the mayor’s urging, revived controversial anti-gun units that a federal monitor recently found frequently conduct unlawful stops. [Gothamist/THE CITY]
Sequeerity, a queer women of color-led security company in the Twin Cities, is filling a void in the industry: The firm focuses on community-centered safety, and its staffers create a friendlier form of security by using de-escalation techniques and carrying flashlights rather than guns at events. [Star Tribune]
Nine days after civil rights attorney Jill Collen Jefferson complained about police in Lexington, Mississippi, to a Justice Department official, an officer who was apparently angry that Jefferson was filming him during a traffic stop arrested her. Jefferson and other residents have raised continued concern about racist practices and misconduct in the Lexington Police Department. [Mississippi Today]
For students at Philadelphia’s Roxborough and Walter B. Saul High Schools, the academic year was shaped by gun violence: First in September by a mass shooting outside a football scrimmage, and most recently by a classmate’s death on a city bus. “I don’t want this to be part of our new norm,” said a student who lost a friend to gun violence. “This is not normal.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Mental health crisis websites promise their visitors anonymity. But dozens of sites tied to the national 988 crisis line have been quietly transmitting sensitive user data to Facebook. [The Markup]
Studies on the rise and influence of American gun culture usually focus on powerful organizations like the NRA or gun manufacturers. Sociologist Jennifer Carlson argues that there’s just as much to learn from everyday firearm enthusiasts. [The New Republic]
Should Suicides Be Considered ‘Gun Violence’?: More than half of all firearm deaths are self-inflicted. A reader’s question touches on a fault line in the nation’s conversation about guns. (December 2021)