What To Know Today
SCOTUS curbs the scope of a federal mandatory minimum gun law. In a 5-4 ruling cutting across the court’s ideological camps, the justices said that crimes of recklessness cannot constitute violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act. The three-strikes law imposes mandatory 15-year sentences on people convicted of possessing a gun if they have three prior violent felonies or certain drug offenses. At the center of the case was Charles Borden Jr., who faced the minimum sentence after he was found with a pistol during a 2017 traffic stop, and pleaded guilty for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Borden had three prior convictions, including one for reckless assault. Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan used the example of a commuter rushing to work and hitting a pedestrian as reckless, but not necessarily violent. “He has not trained his car at the pedestrian understanding he will run him over,” she wrote. Justice Clarence Thomas and fellow conservative Neil Gorsuch joined the court’s three liberals.
Louisiana State Police under investigation for racial profiling, use-of-force in traffic stops. An internal investigation by a secret panel will weigh whether Louisiana officers are systematically targeting Black motorists. The investigation follows the Associated Press’ recent release of body camera footage showing troopers’ deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene, a Black man whom they tased, punched, and dragged as he apologized and yelled, “I’m your brother! I’m scared! I’m scared!” The AP also obtained footage of state police officers using violent force with three other Black men at traffic stops. More from The Trace: Ann Givens recently spoke with a leading expert on the fraught history of police traffic enforcement — and its disproportionate effect on Black Americans.
Cincinnati restricts no-knock warrants. The move comes after nearly a year of deliberations between the City Council, the Police Department, and the city manager. Under the new restricted version of the policy, officers would have to use body-worn cameras and be identifiable as officers when executing warrants, among other practices. The city joins a wave of localities across the country that have restricted or banned the practice since a no-knock raid preceded the police killing of Breonna Taylor last year.
Senate designates Pulse nightclub as a national memorial. The upper chamber unanimously passed the measure ahead of the five-year anniversary of the night a gunman opened fire in the Orlando nightclub, taking 49 lives, most of them Black and Latino LGBTQ people. Republican Senator Rick Scott, who was Florida’s governor at the time of the shooting, introduced the resolution and said on the Senate floor, “It is my hope that this memorial will forever serve as a tribute to the victims and a reminder for us all to always stand for love and kindness over hate and evil in this world.” A week ago, Florida’s current governor, Ron DeSantis, drew criticism for nixing funding for a program offering mental health services for Pulse survivors and their families.
California appeals judge’s ruling overturning state’s assault weapons ban. Announcing the appeal alongside his attorney general, Governor Gavin Newsom derided U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez as a “wholly-owned subsidiary of the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association” for his decision. Benitez has previously ruled against several of the state’s gun regulations. — Tom Kutsch, newsletter editor
Nevada bans ghost guns. This week, Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law that restricts the manufacture, sales, and possession of completed firearms and ghost gun kits that lack a serial number. “This common sense legislation will prevent the sale of ghost guns in our State — helping create a safer and healthier Nevada for all,” Sisolak tweeted. Nevada joins eight other states with laws targeting unserialized DIY guns, according to Giffords. The Firearms Policy Coalition, a gun rights legal organization, announced it was challenging the new law. From the archives: The Trace’s Alain Stephens broke down what makes a gun a ghost gun.
27 percent — the share of police departments nationwide that have reported use-of-force data to the FBI since the voluntary National Use-of-Force Data Collection program launched in 2019. That number did not grow during the program’s second year despite demands from Congress and a presidential order. [The Washington Post]