Jan 22, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon. The shutdown is on day 32. Government workers are on track to miss another paycheck on Friday.

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1 big thing: Guns are back on the radar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the most striking phenomenas of the Trump era has been the decline of firearm businesses despite Republican political dominance.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court now has five conservative justices, and it's taking up a gun rights case for the first time in 9 years.

  • "The Supreme Court ... will take up ... a challenge to New York City’s prohibition on carrying a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun outside the city limits," AP reports.
  • "The court’s decision to hear the appeal filed by three New York residents and New York’s National Rifle Association affiliate could signal a revived interest in gun rights by a more conservative court."

Between the lines: The court wading back into any gun-control issue is probably bad news for gun-control advocates. SCOTUS’ abstinence was probably the best they were ever going to get, Axios' Sam Baker emails.

  • The Supreme Court has declined to review a number of cases across the country where lower courts upheld state or local laws, from expanded background checks to the ban on some semi-automatic weapons that Connecticut passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
  • And the fact that it’s taking up a new case now, with its newly solidified conservative majority, is another sign that it’s ready to pump the brakes on state-level gun control.

But the NRA is reeling, losing three big political fights since Trump's election.

  1. They failed to get concealed carry reciprocity through Congress.
  2. They similarly failed on loosening laws on silencers.
  3. And Trump has used executive action to ban "bump stocks," which the NRA called "disappointing" but did not explicitly oppose.

P.S. Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg to CNN: "When I was interviewed by the special counsel's office, I was asked about the Trump campaign and our dealings with the NRA."

And the gun business isn't doing much better.

  • "[T]he industry was facing a so-called 'Trump slump,' a plummet in sales that happens amid gun rights-friendly administrations," AP notes.
  • "Background checks were at an all-time high in 2016, President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, numbering more than 27.5 million; since then, background checks have been at about 25 million each year."
Bonus: Tweet du jour
2. What you missed
  1. Trump will likely be able to temporarily enforce his ban on transgender people serving in the military, thanks to a partisan-line Supreme Court decision today. Go deeper.
  2. Union leaders reached a tentative deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District to end a 6-day teachers' strike, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  3. 48% of Americans think global warming is harming them "right now," a new poll notes. More numbers.
  4. Kamala Harris raised $1.5 million in 24 hours after she announced her 2020 presidential run, according to her campaign. Go deeper.
  5. Mitch McConnell says his "decision not to fill the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy," aka blocking Merrick Garland's confirmation, was the "most consequential thing I've ever done." Full NY Times profile.
  6. P.S. Why Trump's immigration compromise is dead on arrival
3. The Oscar nominees

Photo: Yalitza Aparicio (center) in “Roma” (Carlos Somonte/Netflix via AP)

  • Best Picture: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice
  • Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
  • Best Actress: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Glenn Close (The Wife), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Best Actor: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Full list.

Mike Allen