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Is Rittenhouse Acquittal The Beginning Of A Bloody New Era Of Gun Violence?

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Our nation's Supreme Court with three NRA-endorsed justices could unleash an army of Kyle Rittenhouse-wannabees on our nation's streets in a decision about who can be armed that can be expected next summer.

The Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month in a case brought by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. The NRA affiliate and two men who couldn't get gun permits in New York sued.

"I don't think people really understand the gravity of this case," said Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It would upend the very framework of the country's public safety laws."

Rittenhouse, now 18, was acquitted Friday by a Wisconsin jury of homicide and other charges. Rittenhouse was 17 in August 2020 when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz during civil unrest in Kenosha after the police shooting of a Black man who was left paralyzed.

Rittenhouse, who took an AR-15-style rifle that a friend had bought him to the demonstrations, claimed self defense. Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed a charge of illegal possession of the rifle before the jury began its deliberations.

"This is the world we could live in if the court decides that the Constitution entitles virtually anyone to carry guns virtually anywhere, to shoot people when they deem it necessary for self-defense," said Jonathan Lowy, Brady chief counsel.

In Wisconsin, there is no duty to retreat before using deadly force.

Federal and state courts have generally used a two-part test in more than 1,000 gun cases since a landmark Supreme Court case in 2008. Judges look at whether the activity is protected by the Second Amendment and then scrutinize it. Judges have used this test to reject most gun rights claims.

But the Supreme Court could throw out this test.

"The big question is whether the justices will announce a new test for the constitutionality of gun laws going forward," said Duke law professor Joseph Blocher.

During oral arguments in the New York case, most of the justices appeared skeptical of the New York law which limits who can carry a gun in public.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked if someone would have a greater need for self defense in a higher-density area.

New York is one of eight states that limit who can carry a gun in public. The others are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

New York's Sullivan Act, named after Tammany Hall politician Timothy Sullivan, was passed in 1911 after the attempted assassination of a mayor and the murder of novelist David Graham Phillips.

New York also has the second-lowest rate of deaths from gun violence in our nation. In 2019, about four people per 100,000 died from gun violence in New York. Wisconsin, which ranked 12th, had a death rate more than twice as high.


NRA's GOP Stooges Aim To 'Nullify' Federal Gun Statutes

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Republicans funded by the National Rifle Association have borrowed from the ideology of the once slave-holding South to try to nullify federal laws about guns.

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Biden Justice Department Upholds Liability Shield For Gun Makers

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

President Joe Biden knows the anguish of two of his children dying, but his Justice Department is working to prevent grieving parents from being able to successfully sue gun dealers and manufacturers over the deaths of their children.

Mark and Leah Gustafson sued Springfield Armory, an Illinois gunmaker, and a department store in a Pennsylvania court over the death of their 13-year-old son, James Robert (J.R.) Gustafson Their son was killed on March 20, 2016, by a 14-year-old boy who mistakenly thought there were no bullets in the gun after he removed the magazine.

"For us to spend the holiday with him, we have to go to a cemetery," said Mark Gustafson.

More than 100 years ago, gunmakers invented a safety feature that disables a gun when the magazine is removed. But the 9 mm semiautomatic handgun that J.R.'s friend, John Burnsworth, pointed at him didn't have this safety device.

"This is not about the Second Amendment," said Gary Lynch, one of the attorneys for the Gustafsons. "This is about a defective product. A little boy is dead because the manufacturer didn't make a simple, innocuous fix that could have prevented this."\

Latest Trump Ruling Risks An American Bhopal Disaster To Enrich Oligarch

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

The weakening of regulations that save us from oil chemical apocalypse appears to have been influenced by a friend of Russian leader Vladimir Putin's oligarchs.

Putin, of course, is the presumed friend of lame-duck and impeached President Donald Trump who is a proven enemy of environmental safeguards.

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States Banning Deadly Paint Stripper Allowed By Trump

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Wendy Hartley, whose son Kevin died at age 21 after using a toxic paint stripper, met with ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt two years ago to urge him to ban a chemical in the stripper that has killed people since 1947.

But when the EPA evaluated the chemical, methylene chloride, under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the agency decided the chemical didn't present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment under some conditions.

"Nothing short of a ban would be sufficient," said Hartley, who brought photos of her son and his death certificate to her meeting with Pruitt.

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Judge Strikes Down Trump Scheme To Force Elderly Into Nursing Homes

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

TheTrump administration has lost a court battle that could have pushed our nation's low-income elderly, disabled, and blind out of their own homes and into deathtrap nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

A California federal judge called the Trump rule that bars states from withholding part of the paychecks of some home healthcare workers for things like health insurance and voluntary union dues a "legal error."

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Trump Must Go, But He Plans To Kill Grandma First

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Team Trump is trying to force our nation's low-income elderly, blind and disabled out of their own homes and into death trap nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Joseph Hunt, who has since left the Justice Department, represented the Trump administration in a California lawsuit over Trump efforts to weaken working conditions for low-paid aides who help our nation's elderly and disabled stay in their homes. The workers, mostly female, do chores like cooking meals, changing adult diapers and helping with baths.

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Trump’s EPA Permits Dumping Of Poisonous Coal Ash

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Retiree Julie Pease and her husband moved into their modest lakefront home near Herrington Lake in Kentucky eight years ago, but she won't eat the fish. The lake is polluted by coal ash from the nearby power plant.

Team Trump recently pushed back the deadlines for utilities to close an estimated 523 leaking, unstable or dangerously-sited coal ash ponds. Kentucky Utilities, which operates the E.W. Brown power plant in Harrodsburg, Ky., closed its main coal ash pond in 2008, but the six million tons of coal ash that remain at the site has polluted Herrington Lake.

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Fearful Senate Republicans Drop Pendley Nomination

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

William Perry Pendley, the embattled attorney who is acting director of the Bureau of Land Management, is out as a candidate for the permanent job.

Trump withdrew Pendley's nomination on Saturday because it could have caused problems for three Republican senators in tough re-election races who would have voted whether to confirm him: Steve Daines of Montana, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona. He is expected to remain as acting director.

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Minnesota Natural Wonder Is On Trump Team’s Hit List To Despoil

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Trump administration action that could spoil a Minnesota wilderness with acidic damage for centuries would benefit the landlord of the president's children.

Former President Jimmy Carter signed a law more than four decades ago to prohibit mining in the Boundary Waters, a pristine wilderness. With more than 1,000 lakes, it stretches almost 200 miles along the U.S.-Canada border in Minnesota.

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Trump’s USDA Speeds Up Meatpacking Despite Virus Deaths

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Trump administration officials may have used misleading data to analyze safety so that meatpacking plants could skirt a safety rule regulating their processes. The rule regulates how fast pigs can be slaughtered.

The USDA Office of Inspector General recently released a report expressing concern about faulty data, as COVID-19 cases soar in the meatpacking industry.

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EPA Allows Agribusiness To Keep Using Widely Banned Poison

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Bayer, the giant German chemical company, has agreed to pay up to $400 million to U.S. farmers whose crops have been damaged by the deadly herbicide dicamba.

The poison is still being used on genetically modified crops until July 31, despite a court order that threw out the Trump EPA approval.

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Trump Appointees Permit Higher Soot Emissions, Increasing Covid-19 Mortality

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

A new Harvard study has found that long-term exposure to microscopic soot in the air appears to be associated with higher death rates from the coronavirus.

But Trump's EPA has recommended keeping the 2012 standards for microscopic soot that are linked to an estimated 45,000 deaths a year.

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McConnell’s Scheme To Protect Corporations From Covid-19 Liability May Fail

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

The landmark Supreme Court decision that upheld most of the Affordable Care Act could help doom efforts by Trump Republicans to shield companies from COVID-19 lawsuits.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to give companies that reopen during the pandemic immunity from liability. Such a law, which would supersede state liability laws, could run afoul of the Commerce Clause.

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Trump Administration Rigs Market For Big Beef Packers

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Trump's Agriculture Department is turning our nation's cattle ranchers and feedlot operators into modern-day sharecroppers as beef prices soar during the pandemic.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) asked the Senate Judiciary Antitrust subcommittee to hold a hearing on claims of price manipulation and collusion in the beef meatpacking industry. Fischer pointed to the spike in the index of prices for butchered beef compared with the 30 percent drop in cattle futures after Jan. 24, when the country's first coronavirus case was reported.

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Trump Republicans Care Less About Workers Than Hogs

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

Donald Trump and Republican legislators behave as if the lives of the immigrants working in meatpacking plants are worth less than the lives of pigs in a slaughterhouse.

Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), a former GOP governor, asked Trump to intervene to keep meatpacking plants open during the pandemic.

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Nursing Homes Fouled By Lax Regulation And Lobbyist Influence

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat but the CEO of a nursing home industry group, wrote Trump after the 2016 election seeking a "collaborative approach" to regulation, much like the one the Federal Aviation Administration has had with the aircraft industry.

Team Trump acquiesced, rolling back fines and proposing to weaken rules for infection prevention employees. That collaborative approach has failed, much as it did with the FAA , the agency that enabled failures in the design of the Boeing 737 Max.

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