What To Know Today

House background check bills pass for the second time in two years. A measure that extends checks to almost all private sales and transfers passed 227-203 with eight Republican votes, while another that addresses the so-called Charleston loophole passed 219-210, garnering two Republican votes. Under current law, a gun sale automatically proceeds if a background check isn’t completed in three days; the latter bill would give the FBI more time to vet would-be purchasers. Both bills passed the House in 2019, only to stall after then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring them to the floor for a vote. Even with Democrats now in charge, a Senate victory for either measure remains a tall order, though two current Republican Senators have previously supported universal background check bills and a handful of others have expressed openness to the policy. 

NRA tries to block board member’s deposition request from New York attorney general. Last month, board member Phillip Journey asked a judge overseeing the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy case to appoint an independent examiner to investigate the group’s executive leadership. Journey alleged management never informed the 76-member board about the NRA’s plans to seek Chapter 11 protection, a characterization the NRA’s outside counsel has disputed. This week, the New York Attorney General’s Office, which is seeking the NRA’s dissolution and wants the bankruptcy filing dismissed, asked the gun group for “information regarding what occurred at Board meetings and in regard to the determination to file for bankruptcy.” The NRA moved to block the deposition, and an emergency hearing has been scheduled for Monday in bankruptcy court.

An “unethical approach to science”: Leading gun violence researcher decries California policy under state AG. Last week, the head of the publicly funded Firearm Violence Research Center at University of California, Davis, told The Sacramento Bee that the office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra, President Biden’s nominee for health and human services secretary, had been withholding vital gun violence data essential for ongoing studies. Garen Wintemute, the head of the center, spoke to The Guardian in a follow-up article about the odd dispute between researchers — who were given access to the data for years — and the Attorney General’s Office, which is now clamping down in the name of privacy. “I think there is real grounds for concern that this sort of unethical approach to science is about to move to the head of health and human services, which is home to the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the leading research institutes in the world,” said Wintemute.

Feds indict man alleged to be an informant in the plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor. The Detroit News cites sources familiar with the case saying the 58-year-old Wisconsin resident — charged with illegally possessing a sniper rifle — was a confidential FBI informant in the conspiracy case against 13 men charged in the plot against Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Prosecutors have secured a conviction against one alleged plotter, but an indictment against a government informant could complicate the case for others.

An alarming trend of child homicides in St. Louis continues. Since 2012, the Missouri city has held the tragic distinction of leading the nation in the per-capita murder rate of children. The Riverfront Times dives into the structural problems underlying the violence against city youth, which it writes is only getting worse. “We’re just fixing holes that bullets are creating,” said the trauma medical director at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We’re not preventing anything.”

Data Point

0 — the number of 20 major U.S. cities whose police use-of-force policies were compliant with law enforcement standards developed by the United Nations, according to a University of Chicago Global Rights Clinic study. [The Guardian]