Jan 22, 2019

Supreme Court puts gun rights back on the radar

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the most striking phenomena 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.

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."

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."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,931,112 — Total deaths: 357,929 — Total recoveries — 2,388,172Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,711,313 — Total deaths: 101,129 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

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