Newsroom: March 2018

Way too much to cover this week. We’re going to basically cover everything that has happened in relation to the Parkland shooting. This week, the “violent video game” trope is resurrected from the early 2000s, multiple updates to state legislative efforts, a GOP debate in PA, and one or two likely-doomed bills in Congress.

1.) Violent Video Games. Let us get this out of the way and never speak of it again. For some reason, despite there being no connection between the Parkland shooter and video games, and despite a mountain of research, some on the right (and indeed, even some gun control advocates), are moving to blame the shooting, and the “mass shooting epidemic” (that doesn’t exist) on violent video games. President Trump had a handful of gaming executives, Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, and Dave Grossman come to the White House for one of many “listening sessions” he has held in recent weeks. Apparently nothing came out of the meeting, which is nice considering it’s largely a settled issue.

Besides which, most of the mass shootings that tend to spark such “conversations” had no interest in games whatsoever.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that this takes place in the post-Brown v. Electronic Merchants Association world, and that video games are indeed protected by the First Amendment, as Vox was quite eager to note.

2.) Massie. Definitely going against the grain of recent legislative efforts, Representative Thomas Massie has introduced a bill that, rather than raising the age to own a rifle to 21, would instead lower the age to own a handgun to 18. Unfortunately, as Bearing Arms notes, the current climate isn’t exactly conducive to reducing restrictions on firearms.

3.) Age discrimination. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has warned FFLs that the recent trend of unilaterally raising the age to purchase a rifle may have legal consequences. Dick’s Sporting Goods, among other retail stores, have said they will not sell firearms to people under 21, despite the law stating that people can at least own a rifle at 18. The NSSF places its entire argument on state and local “age discrimination” laws.

4.) GVROs. The idea of pre-emptively taking somebody’s firearms because they “might” be a risk has also been floated in the wake of the Parkland shooting. Bearing Arms has an excellent op-ed on the has already seen one firearm confiscated.

5a.) State’s Fights: New York. Somehow managing to find ways to make gun laws tighter, New York has passed five new gun control bills ranging from bump stock bans, to GVROs, to 10-day waiting periods.

5b.) State’s Fights: Utah. Utah, meanwhile, rejected the idea of and invited swift legal action by the NRA as a result. The bill raises the age to buy a rifle to 21, puts in a 3 day waiting period, and according to Bay News 9 “includes new checks to prevent guns from falling into the hands of the mentally ill.”

The NRA’s lawsuit focuses on the age to purchase a rifle.

Next time, we update the Blue Line series. A look at violence against police, the current statistics on line-of-duty deaths, and more. In April, we will put the long-form discussions on hold for a moment, and lay out a rough sketch for the second half of 2018 on the Midnight Run, including Blowback and the concept of following up on previous updates more frequently (as opposed to, for example, the four-year gulf between Debt and its upcoming follow-up in May).

Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.

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