Hello, OnPolitics readers.
Gun safety was the focus of several pieces of legislation and a Thursday ruling by the Supreme Court. the first comprehensive gun safety bill in 30 years is one step closer to a Senate vote.
In a procedural step, Senators voted 65-34 to end debate on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, finishing negotiations that began in May. A bipartisan group of 20 began hammering out a deal after mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas pressured lawmakers to find a solution.
The legislation is supported by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Schumer is rushing to pass the measure before Friday– the Senate’s self-imposed deadline and the day Congress recess leaves for a two-week. The Senate is currently on track to vote on the deal before the July 4 holiday break.
If the Senate passes the gun deal, it will move to the House, where it is expected to pass, before going to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
Senate deal comes after SCOTUS ruling on handguns
Two months after the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings, the Supreme Court struck down a New York gun law that required state residents to have “proper cause” to carry a handgun. The ruling, which carried a 6-3 conservative majority, has the potential to influence Second Amendment rights amid a rash of mass shootings throughout the country.
In his opinion, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment in that it prevents law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms.” He was joined by five other conservative justices.
Who brought the case? Two upstate New Yorkers, plus the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, sued then-New York State Police superintendent Kevin Bruen after a licensing officer denied them the carry privileges they sought.
What are the broader implications? Five Democratic-led states have similar licensing requirements and so those laws will likely be challenged.
But the decision could have far broader implications for other laws because the high court is changing the standard used to review such laws. Thomas writes that in order to pass constitutional muster, gun regulations must have some connection to the nation’s “historical tradition.”
Real quick: stories you’ll want to read
- FBI descends on home of ex-DOJ official: Federal authorities on Wednesday conducted a search at the suburban Virginia home of former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, eleven central to Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
- Afghanistan earthquake kills at least 1,000: A 5.9 magnitude earthquake rocked eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 1,000 peopleinjuring 1,500 more and destroying homes and other buildings in the rugged, mountainous region.
- Abortion takes backseat in voters’ minds: In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Polleven those Americans who oppose striking down the landmark decision recognizing abortion rights say by 2-1 – 59% to 29% – that the economy will be more important to their vote in November.
- SCOTUS on voter ID laws: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed two Republican state lawmakers to intervene in a challenge to a contentious 2018 election law that would require voters in North Carolina to show photo identification at the polls.
Jan. 6 committee hearing focused on Trump’s attempts to subvert the DOJ
The special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots focused its fifth day of public testimony on former President Donald Trump’s attempts to manipulate the US Justice Department after federal investigators found no evidence of election fraud.
Three former officials, including acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, testified during Thursday’s hearing about a tense confrontation with the White House in the weeks after the presidential election.
Each of the witnesses described how Trump grew agitated with the agency after it failed to find any merit to his baseless claims about election fraud, and sought to replace Rosen with Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark.
The committee displayed a draft letter written by Clark addressed to Georgia legislative leaders, which falsely alluded to possible voter fraud in key states even after investigators found no evidence. Former Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, in video testimony, said Clark was the one who proposed telling six swing states they should send alternate electors to Congress to support Trump.
Among other things, he said, the former president wanted the agency to appoint a special counsel, meet with his re-election campaign lawyers and file a lawsuit with the US Supreme Court.
“The Justice Department declined all of those requests…because we did not think that they were appropriate based on the facts and the law as we understood them,” Rosen said.
Title IX was passed 50 years ago. But most top colleges still deprive female athletes of equal opportunities. Read more about USA TODAY’s investigation here. –Amy and Chelsey
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism