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

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election only reached 42.57%, according to Iran's interior ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World