This shortened post-holiday week managed to produce some major firsts in the gun world.
A federal judge ruled on Tuesday the government is liable for its negligence in not sharing criminal records in the case of the Sutherland Springs shooting. Experts told me that was a first. But a similar case brought by families of the Charleston church shooting victims could soon go the same way.
We also saw the gun industry’s trade group take out their first political TV ads. They started running ads in West Virginia and Maine to try and push moderate senators to vote against President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the ATF. The move shows just how strongly the industry opposes former ATF agent and current gun-control activist David Chipman becoming the leader of the agency that regulates them.
There was also a first for The Reload this week. Our new podcast went live to everyone for the first time on Tuesday!
The member early-access period for our first two episodes of the podcast has now ended. They are now available to everyone on every major podcasting app.
The first episode features National Review‘s Charles Cooke discussing the history of American gun rights. He responds to President Biden’s contention that the Second Amendment restricted access to certain weapons and that resisting the government is a futile idea in the modern era.
The second episode features The Dispatch‘s David French on the Supreme Court’s upcoming gun-carry case. We talk about the different possible outcomes and their potential fallout at the lower courts. I also ask him about his early advocacy for red-flag laws in the context of how they’ve actually been implemented since then.
The next episode of the podcast features Rangemaster’s Tiffany Johnson, a leading firearms trainer who focuses on bridging gaps between the gun industry and minorities. It comes out next Monday. Of course, members get early access on Sunday. So, if you want early access, join today!
You should be able to find the podcast by searching its name in your favorite podcasting app or by searching for the RSS feed: https://feeds.fireside.fm/thereload/rss
A federal judge found the government liable for failures in the background check system that allowed the Sutherland Springs shooter to obtain his firearm.
United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez ruled on Tuesday that the families of those killed in the Texas attack, which left 25 dead and 20 more injured, can be awarded damages from the government. He found members of Air Force leadership did not provide proper oversight for the process of transferring the shooter’s disqualifying criminal records to the gun background check system. That allowed the shooter to pass multiple background checks he would have failed if his records had been in the system.
“The Government failed to exercise reasonable care in its undertaking to submit criminal history to the FBI,” he wrote in the ruling. “The Government’s failure to exercise reasonable care increased the risk of physical harm to the general public, including Plaintiffs. And its failure proximately caused the deaths and injuries of Plaintiffs at the Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church on November 5, 2017.”
The gun industry’s trade group is running ads in key states in an attempt to block President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the agency that regulates them.
In a sign of how strongly the industry opposes Biden’s ATF nominee David Chipman, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has purchased its first-ever TV ads to try and stop his confirmation. The ad slams Chipman’s work for gun-control groups over the past several years. It also condemns multiple comments he has made supporting strict new gun ban and registration schemes.
“David Chipman quit his job at the ATF and went to go work for the gun-control lobby instead,” the ad says. “Now Joe Biden wants David Chipman to lead the ATF so that he can ban guns. The law enforcement officers of the ATF deserve a leader who won’t politicize the agency and abuse it to take away your freedoms. Don’t put the fox in charge of the hen house.”
A trend has begun to emerge in gun sales.
June saw 1.2 million gun sales. That’s down from a year ago, but it’s up from every other June on record. March and May told the exact same story. So did the second quarter overall.
It seems the United States may have found its new normal for gun sales.
The recent 2021 numbers are down significantly from 2020’s all-time record numbers, which makes sense. As the coronavirus swept the country, incredible uncertainty followed behind it. Mass layoffs, prisoner releases, lockdowns, and meat shortages drove Americans to the gun store at an all-time record rate.
Outside The Reload
The Reload in Media
An analysis piece I wrote for members two weeks ago came back into the news this week. NewsBusters’s Nicholas Fondacaro highlighted a segment on Chris Hayes’s MSNBC show, in which Hayes implies the 2020 gun sales spike drove the 2020 murder spike. I pointed out there are several reasons why that’s highly unlikely, from the law-abiding status of those who bought the guns to the length of time it usually takes for a gun to be used in a crime.
Hayes seemed to backtrack a bit when responding to me. He said he didn’t claim causality, which is technically true. But the implication being made was pretty clear to me. Either way, I told him I’d be happy to come on the show to discuss the topic further or have him on the Weekly Reload Podcast. I’m always open to discussing topics like this with most anyone.
That’s it for this week in guns.
I’ll see you all next week.