Good morning, Bulletin readers. The Supreme Court decides to not decide on bump stocks. And we take stock of high-level departures at the NRA after a year of crisis. Those stories lead your Tuesday briefing.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Supreme Court: We’re leaving the federal bump stock ban alone. The justices declined to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling upholding the Trump administration policy to prohibit the devices, which enable semiautomatic rifles to mimic machine guns. The ban was passed in the aftermath of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, in which a gunman used multiple rifles equipped with bump stocks to shoot more than 450 people. A coalition of gun rights groups, including the Firearms Policy Foundation and Florida Carry, challenged the ban.
NEW from THE TRACE: Tracking the NRA exodus. It’s been nearly a year since The Trace documented questionable financial dealings at the National Rifle Association and the organization brought the first of four lawsuits against its longtime public relations firm and business ally, Ackerman McQueen. Amid the ensuing unrest, at least eight board members, three staff members, three attorneys, and three executives have left the gun group. Read on for our new interactive timeline of NRA departures, from Will Van Sant and Daniel Nass.
Meanwhile, an ethics watchdog launched a new complaint against the NRA. Citing two Trace reports, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington called on the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the NRA, saying it violated its tax-exempt status and federal tax law. Earlier this month, Representative Brad Schneider of Illinois reiterated his call for an investigation, also citing The Trace’s reporting. (H/t to Newsweek’s Asher Stockler, who brought the complaint to our attention.)
California school cancels active shooter drill that would have used blanks. The San Marino School District decision scuttled plans for the drill, which would have simulated real gunfire, after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint. Earlier this month, the country’s largest teachers’ unions came out against active shooter trainings that are unplanned or simulate violence. ICYMI: Last year, The Trace and HuffPost published an investigation into ALICE, a leading active shooter training firm and an early proponent of having teachers and students confront gunmen. Our reporting found little evidence that the approach works.
New Jersey’s governor wants massive hikes for gun fees. Governor Phil Murphy’s 2021 budget would increase more than a dozen gun-related fees, including those for permit applications ($2 to $50) and firearm ID cards ($5 to $100). The budget also requests a 2.5 percent tax on gun sales and a 10 percent tax on ammunition. Despite New Jersey’s propensity for more gun regulation, similar attempts by Murphy have failed the past two years in the face of opposition from fellow Democrats.
Self-identified liberals account for roughly 20 percent of gun owners, or about 12 million people, according to a stat the Associated Press featured in a recent story about gun-owning Democratic voters.