Things did not slow down in the realm of guns this week. Not one bit. Even though I sometimes wish it would!
An armed man attempted to assassinate a sitting Supreme Court justice on Wednesday. After he spotted U.S. Marshals standing guard outside the justice’s residence when he arrived at 1 am, he thought better of his plan and instead turned himself in to the police. He then told them he was partly motivated by his assumption that justice would vote to strike down gun-control laws.
The policy fallout from the recent mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo carried on as well. New York passed a package of new gun restrictions, including a microstamping requirement on handguns that will likely prove impossible to comply with in practice. Congress followed shortly afterward with a package of gun laws passed through the House of Representatives.
Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman takes a close look at the seven different measures inside the package, what they do, what they don’t, and how the votes played out. He also puts a skeptical eye to common gun-control polling. Are the policies that poll well as popular as they seem?
We also saw support for an “assault weapons” ban fall to new lows in the first major poll since the shootings.
New legal action from gun-rights activists also materialized this week. A coalition challenged Washington’s magazine ban in federal court.
Plus, former law enforcement active shooting response trainer Mike Willever joins the podcast to discuss mistakes made in Uvalde.
You can also check out my appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. They were nice enough to have me on for 45 minutes, including time for questions from callers. It was interesting and, I hope, informative.
Police apprehended an armed man nearby Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s home early Wednesday morning.
The man, identified as Nicholas John Roske, told the FBI he planned to murder Kavanaugh and then kill himself, according to an affidavit. Police found a knife, handgun, pepper spray, hammer, crowbar, zip ties, and other items on him. He told the FBI he was motivated to kill Kavanaugh by his concern the Court would reduce gun restrictions.
“Roske indicated that he believed the justice that he intended to kill would side with Second Amendment decisions that would loosen gun laws,” the affidavit said.
Poll: Support for ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban Falls in Wake of Uvalde Shooting
By Stephen Gutowski
Americans are less supportive of banning AR-15s and similar firearms than ever before.
That’s one of the surprising takeaways from the first Quinnipiac University poll on gun policy since the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The poll, released on Wednesday, found that the fewest registered voters supported an “assault weapons” ban since Quinnipiac first asked the question in 2013. While support still cracked a bare majority, it was down 17 percent since its peak just four years ago.
The drop in support for an assault weapons ban runs contrary to the trajectory of other gun-control policies. Support for stricter gun laws overall increased 12 points over the past year to 57 percent. “Red flag” laws saw an increase of 11 points in support to 83 percent. Universal background checks saw a smaller boost in support but ended up with 91 percent support.
Analysis: A Look at the House Gun-Control Package [Member Exclusive]
By Jake Fogleman
The House passed a broad gun-control package on Wednesday, but what exactly does it do?
The full bill contains seven separate gun-control measures ranging from new age restrictions for firearm purchases to bans on certain ammunition magazines. The overall bill passed 223-204, though each measure received a vote of its own. Five Republicans joined the Democratic majority in supporting the complete package, while two Democrats broke with their party and voted against the bill.
Here’s a look at what passed, how the votes played out between the parties, and what Democrats left off the table in the largest federal gun control package advanced in years.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D.) signed a sweeping collection of new gun restrictions on Monday.
The package includes laws that raise the age requirement to purchase rifles like the AR-15, confiscate magazines that hold more than ten rounds, tighten red flag laws, and restrict civilian purchases of bullet-resistant armor. One of the laws also requires social media to respond to potential threats. Another law mandates microstamping for handguns, a theoretical gun-tracking technology.
“This comprehensive package will close loopholes, give law enforcement the tools they need to prevent easy access to guns, and stop the sale of dangerous weapons to 18-year-olds,” Hochul said on Monday.
First Lawsuit Filed Against Washington State Ammo Magazine Ban
By Jake Fogleman
Washington state gun owners will continue to enjoy a full selection of ammunition magazines if a pair of national gun-rights groups get their way in court.
The Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), along with the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), filed a lawsuit against Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D.) and several other officials in federal court on Friday. The suit alleges that the state’s recently passed ban on the manufacture and sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds is unconstitutional.
“The State of Washington has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right of self-defense,” the complaint states. “By banning manufacturing, importation, distribution, and sale of standard-capacity firearm magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds of ammunition (“standard capacity magazines”), the State has barred law-abiding residents from legally acquiring common ammunition magazines and deprived them of an effective means of self-defense.”
Podcast: Active Shooting Response Trainer Mike Willever on Mistakes in Uvalde
By Stephen Gutowski
Active Self Protection’s Mike Willever joined the show this week. He is a former federal agent who taught active shooter response training. He also once responded to a shooting as it was happening.
He was as exasperated by the response to Robb Elementary School as I was. Active shooter response training is not complicated, he said. You go to the threat as fast as you can and neutralize it before doing anything else.
Plus, Contributing Writer Jake Fogleman and I discuss the latest dismal financial release from the NRA.
Support for stricter gun control has waxed and waned periodically over the years, but some individual proposals poll consistently well. Why then do these proposals routinely fail to make it into law outside of the most left-leaning states?
That’s because individual issue polling often belies true political support for many common gun-control proposals. It’s a phenomenon that has come to characterize gun politics over the last decade or so, but one that supporters of gun control have largely failed to reconcile.
The inability to pass measures like universal background checks, assault weapons bans, or magazine capacity restrictions is often rationalized away as the work of a recalcitrant and all-powerful NRA. Clearly, that must be the case when proposals like universal background checks routinely see 80-90 percent support in polling data, right?
The truth is more complicated. When it comes to gauging policy support, as with most things, the devil is in the details.
Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski joined C-Span to talk about the major divide between parties on how to address gun violence.
Gutowski joined Bill Scanlan with the Washington Journal on Tuesday. They discussed the recent efforts by Congress to address mass shootings and took calls on the issue of gun control. With Capitol Hill working on crafting legislation aimed at curbing gun violence, Gutowski discusses what progress can be made and what solutions are likely to make it through congress.
“The solutions on each side are very different from each other,” Gutowski said. “And it’s hard to find common ground beyond something small.”
Outside The Reload
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.