Newsletter: A Groundbreaking Legal Decision on the Sutherland Springs Shooting and the Podcast Opens to Everyone

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:

ATF form 4473 used during gun background checks
ATF form 4473 used during gun background checks / Screenshot

Federal Judge: Government Liable for Background Check Failure That Led to Sutherland Springs Shooting

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.”

Click here to read the full story.

David Chipman
David Chipman at the May 26th Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing / Screenshot

Gun Industry Group Runs First-Ever TV Ads Opposing Biden ATF Nominee

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.”

Click here to read more.

Gun display at Virginia store
Gun display at Virginia store / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: Are We Seeing a New Normal for Gun Sales? [Member Exclusive]

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.

Second quarter gun sales since 2000
Second quarter gun sales since 2000 / NSSF

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.

If you’re a member, you can read the full piece here. If not, join today to get access!

Outside The Reload

Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban | The Guardian | By Emma Graham-Harrison

Guns and ammo now tax-free in West Virginia | WTRF | By Audra Laskey

Biden gun and police policies threaten Democrats’ 2022 midterm prospects | Fox News | By Thomas Barrabi

In Chicago’s Roseland Neighborhood, a Mix of Grief and Perseverance | The Trace | By Lakeidra Chavis

Terry McAuliffe Has No Idea What Virginia’s Gun Laws or Voting Laws Are | National Review | By Jim Geraghty

Biden Sets His Sights on Destroying the Gun Industry | Townhall | By Gabriella Hoffman

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.

NewsBusters incorporated my analysis in their write-up of the segment, and so did Fox News.

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.

If you want to hear my analysis of why these were the most important stories and how they may impact you, make sure you buy a Reload membership to get the exclusive analysis newsletter every Sunday!

I’ll see you all next week.

Stephen Gutowski
The Reload

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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