Good morning, Bulletin readers. As Congress looks likely to punt again on new gun safety measures, Democratic presidential candidates are talking about what they might accomplish on their own. We talked to legal scholars about the limits of their plans.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Democratic presidential candidates say they’ll take executive action on guns. Here’s what that would look like. Promising voters a solution to congressional gridlock, a majority of Democratic candidates have said they would be willing to wield the power of the executive branch to reduce gun deaths. But there are big limits to how much a president can change gun laws, notes Adam Winkler, a professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Where a president has more influence is over internal practices, enforcement, and regulation. Alex Yablon has the explainer.
A former Dallas police officer was convicted of murder for shooting her unarmed black neighbor in his apartment. Amber Guyger fatally shot Botham Jean last September, claiming that she mistook his apartment for hers, which was one floor below. The jury was allowed to consider so-called castle doctrine, even though Guyger was in someone else’s home. Jurors rejected that defense.
A gun reform group wants the NRA Foundation expelled from a giving program for federal employees. Everytown for Gun Safety asked the director of the federal Office of Personnel Management to investigate whether the National Rifle Association should remain in a program that allows government employees to designate a portion of their paycheck to a charitable organization. Citing reporting from The Trace and other outlets, Everytown argued that the NRA Foundation, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars through the program over the years, no longer qualifies because it violated two requirements: that it use donations only for its “announced programs,” and that members of its governing body have “no material conflicts of interest.” (Everytown provides grants to The Trace through its nonpolitical arm. Here’s our policy on editorial independence.)
Kids exposed to Chicago’s gun violence can sue Illinois over its gun laws. A federal judge made the ruling on Tuesday. The plaintiffs argued that Illinois is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Civil Rights Act by not doing more to reduce the gun trafficking that fuels gun violence and related trauma in the city’s crime hotspots. U.S. District Court Judge Joan Gottschall held that the patterns of violence create “discrete pockets of predominantly African-American individuals disproportionately likely to be harmed by ongoing exposure.”
Michigan lawmakers want to make it easier to sue “gun-free” zones after shootings. Two Republican state representatives introduced legislation that would allow people to sue government agencies and private businesses for damages stemming from shootings in places where guns are prohibited. Fact-check: There is no clear evidence supporting the gun lobby talking point that mass shooters single out places where gun owners are barred from bringing their weapons.
Connecticut’s “ghost gun” ban took effect Tuesday. It’s the third state to ban guns that can be assembled with parts bought online, which are untraceable because they lack serial numbers.
Republican state lawmakers in Ohio introduced bills aimed at strengthening the gun background check system. Representatives D.J. Swearingen and Phil Plummer unveiled measures on Monday that would raise the age for expungement of juvenile criminal records to 28; give law enforcement a single day to report people under indictment for violent felonies or served with restraining orders for stalking to the gun background check system; and allow people with drug addiction to be involuntary committed.
A 14-year-old in Iowa was charged with a felony for placing an online job posting for a school shooter. The juvenile was charged with threatening terrorism.
Only 11 out of 74 school districts in Florida have sought to arm teachers through the Guardian Program, which took effect on Tuesday. [The New York Times]