Week in Review

July 9 – July 13, 2018

President Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court
On Monday, President Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his pick to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. The NRA was quick to praise the nomination because they know him on the bench, they’ll have another ally in the court. Make no mistake, by nominating Kavanaugh, President Trump is making good on his promise to come through for the NRA, after they spent millions to put him in office.

Former congresswoman and Giffords co-founder Gabrielle Giffords had this to say:

“In nominating Judge Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice, the Trump Administration is once again showing brazen disregard for the people it claims to protect. Judge Kavanaugh’s dangerous views on the Second Amendment are far outside the mainstream of even conservative thought and stand in direct opposition to the values and priorities of the vast majority of Americans. America needs a Supreme Court justice who respects the Second Amendment but who also realizes reasonable regulations that reduce gun violence do not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights. But that’s not the kind of justice President Trump nominated today.” (Read Gabby’s full statement here)

Anyone concerned about protecting communities from gun violence should strongly oppose the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. His presence on the nation’s highest Court could undermine decades of work to strengthen gun policy. The memo, published by the Giffords Law Center this week, discusses Kavanaugh’s record on guns and potential impact on critical firearm policy issues.

Inside the Gun Control Movement’s Push to Derail Brett Kavanaugh | Mother Jones | Kara Voght
When Donald Trump announced his selection of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, gun rights’ groups were quick to celebrate the president’s pick. “President Trump has made another outstanding choice in nominating Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court,” Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, said in a statement following Trump’s announcement on Monday night. “He has an impressive record that demonstrates his strong support for the Second Amendment.”

Brett Kavanaugh Thinks Banning Assault Rifles Would Be Like Banning Speech | Daily Beast | Michael Daly
If you hear cheers coming from the NRA, that is because President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court has flatly declared that an assault rifle ban is unconstitutional. Judge Brett Kavanaugh has even gone so far as to contend that banning assault rifles would be akin to violating one of our most fundamental rights. “A ban on a class of arms is not an ‘incidental’ regulation,” he wrote in 2011 dissenting opinion as a judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. “It is equivalent to a ban on a category of speech.”

House GOP appropriators block funding for gun violence research | Politico | Adam Cancryn
House Republican appropriators Wednesday rejected a proposal to designate millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for gun violence research, voting 32-20 to keep the language out of a fiscal 2019 spending bill. The party-line vote marked Democrats’ latest failed bid to spur studies into preventing firearm-related injuries and deaths — and comes despite a bipartisan agreement earlier this year that the CDC is permitted to conduct such research. The agency’s ability to study gun violence had been limited by a 1996 provision that prevented the CDC from collecting data to advocate for gun control.

Supreme court pick could make assault weapons ban unconstitutional | The Guardian | Lois Beckett
Trump’s latest supreme court pick could be the swing vote needed to tear down some of the remaining restrictions on gun rights in America, including giving citizens a constitutional right to carry a gun in public…If Kavanaugh becomes the final vote needed for a more pro-gun supreme court, then assault weapon bans and other strict gun laws could be overturned by the supreme court in as little as a year or two, said Hannah Shearer, an attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports stricter gun laws.

Thousands shut down Chicago highway with gun control march | The Guardian | Kari Lydersen
Thousands of Chicago protesters shut down a major highway on Saturday to oppose gun violence and call for stronger gun laws. After an hour-long standstill, police announced they were shutting down all northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway to allow protesters to march on the road. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city’s police superintendent had voiced support for the protest, which was led by the Rev Michael Pfleger, the charismatic Catholic priest heading a largely African American church in one of the South Side neighborhoods hard-hit by gang violence.

Under the Radar
First, the NRA Watered Down a Red Flag Bill. Then It Mobilized to Kill It. | The Trace | Alex Yablon
Following the Parkland shooting, the National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, called on Congress to pass legislation that would provide federal grants to states that allow police to temporarily seize legally owned guns from people at risk of harming themselves or others. Before this year, only five states had red flag laws in place, and the NRA had opposed their passage. In the face of an unprecedented movement for stronger gun regulations after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the gun group appeared to soften its opposition. “We need to stop dangerous people before they act,” Cox said in the video statement. “There will always be evil in this world. That won’t change. But we can change our response.” It was a rare retreat.

FBI to Add Major Law Enforcement Database to Gun Background Check System | The Trace | Ann Givens and Andrew Knapp
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is planning a major addition to the gun background check system, years after examiners’ failure to locate critical information allowed a white supremacist to buy the gun he used to murder nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Within about two years, background check examiners will have the option to query a vast, previously untapped database of law enforcement records when vetting potential gun buyers. The National Data Exchange, or N-DEx, which is maintained by the FBI, houses more than 400 million records, including incident and arrest reports and probation and parole documents. The FBI started exploring the possibility of using N-DEx in 2015, following an internal review that found that Charleston gunman Dylann Roof would have been blocked from legally acquiring his murder weapon had examiners been able to tap it.

A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns | Wired | Andy Greenberg
Five years ago, 25-year-old radical libertarian Cody Wilson stood on a remote central Texas gun range and pulled the trigger on the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun. When, to his relief, his plastic invention fired a .380-caliber bullet into a berm of dirt without jamming or exploding in his hands, he drove back to Austin and uploaded the blueprints for the pistol to his website, He’d launched the site months earlier along with an anarchist video manifesto, declaring that gun control would never be the same in an era when anyone can download and print their own firearm with a few clicks. In the days after that first test-firing, his gun was downloaded more than 100,000 times. Wilson made the decision to go all in on the project, dropping out of law school at the University of Texas, as if to confirm his belief that technology supersedes law.

GVPedia: Guns and Women

  • In the United States in 2016, 5,664 female firearm deaths were recorded – 3,291 suicides and 2,202 homicides. (The remainder were undetermined, unintentional, or legal intervention.)
  • Access to firearms increases the risk of being a homicide victim more for women than men.
  • The increased homicide risk for women is largely a product of intimate partner homicides.
  • A gun in the home quintuples the risk of domestic violence turning lethal.
  • A gun in the home increases the severity of nonfatal domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence restraining orders that temporarily prohibit gun ownership by the aggressor significantly reduce overall intimate partner homicide.

Delaware: Deaths of Prices Corner family of 5 ruled murder suicide
Julie Edwards, her husband, Matthew, and their three children were set to leave for Baltimore Monday night for a national conference that Julie helped to plan and coordinate. Matthew, who was living and working in North Carolina, had returned to their Prices Corner home Sunday to accompany the family to the conference, despite the fact that he and his wife were “estranged,” said Julie’s friend, Brianna Horney. Instead, Matthew Edwards shot and killed first his family and then himself in what state investigators have ruled a murder suicide. State police said Matthew Edwards sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to autopsies completed Tuesday.

Vermont: State’s legal team urges judge to throw out gun magazine limit lawsuit
The state of Vermont is asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit brought by sportsmen groups and firearms dealers challenging a law passed earlier this year that sets limits on the size of gun magazines. Vermont Solicitor General Benjamin Battles of the Attorney General’s office filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit late Tuesday afternoon in Washington County Superior civil court, which is where the case is pending.

Washington: Washington gun control initiative turns in petition with 360,000 signatures
Backers of a statewide gun initiative say they’ve gathered enough signatures to put the measure to voters in November. Initiative 1639 would make several changes such raise the minimum age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21 from 18 and require enhanced background checks. It would also require that gun owners secure firearms kept in their homes.

Pennsylvania: 300 guns turned in at buyback event
A gun buyback was held at Abiding Truth Ministries, 846 S 57th St., near Washington Street on Saturday in West Philadelphia. The event was organized by Sen. Anthony H. Williams. “It was the most successful gun buyback in the city and the region so we are tremendously excited about that, but even more important are the types of guns removed from the streets: assault weapons, assault pistols, automatics, things that are current, not just grandpa’s gun underneath the bed were here today,” Williams said.

Georgia: Parents of Toddler Who Killed Himself With Found Gun Charged
The mother and father of a 4-year-old Georgia boy who found a loaded gun and fatally shot himself have been indicted. The Augusta Chronicle reports that a Richmond County grand jury indicted 27-year-old Justin W. Foss Sr. on felony murder and possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon on Tuesday. Foss had been arrested Saturday after his son, Justin Foss Jr., was pronounced dead after what appeared to be an accidental shooting. But his wide, Shelby Foss, was also indicted Tuesday.

Texas: Federal appeals court hears arguments on Texas campus carry law
A federal appeals court heard arguments Wednesday from lawyers for three University of Texas professors who are challenging the state’s law allowing concealed handguns on college campuses. The professors sued two years ago over Texas’ campus carry law, which allows licensed gun holders to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses. Their case was thrown out by a federal judge but was heard Wednesday by a three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. It is unclear when they will rule.


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