The ATF proposes to classify bump stocks as machineguns, 17 states sue over citizenship question on Census, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives published a proposed rule that would classify bump stocks and similar devices as “machineguns” because “such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.” This rule would make it illegal to own or transfer bump stocks, and follows a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Justice to use all available resources to comb through the comments—of which there were more than 100,000—received on the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that preceded the proposed rule.
- New York, along with 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and eight other entities sued the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau over their “unconstitutional and arbitrary decision” to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. New York worried that that the question would prevent immigrant populations from participating in the Census for fear of what the government might do with citizenship information, leading to a problematic “undercount.”
- President Donald Trump will station the National Guard on the southwestern U.S. border to aid U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. The Administration justified the action by citing Congress’s inability “to close the loopholes undermining our border security efforts.” U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would also be working with governors of the border states with the same goal.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it intends to repeal Obama-era emissions standards for cars. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford.” Luke Tonachel of the Natural Resources Defense Council said the decision “jeopardizes successful safeguards that are working to clean our air.”
- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a police officer did not use excessive force when he shot, non-fatally, a woman who, standing next to her roommate, “appeared calm” but did not drop a knife she was holding when asked to by the police. The Court explained that it was “reasonable” for the officer to have believed that the woman “posed an immediate threat to others,” and he did not violate any “clearly established right.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, arguing that the officer violated the woman’s “clearly established Fourth Amendment rights by needlessly resorting to lethal force.”
- Mick Mulvaney, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wrote in a semiannual report to Congress that the Bureau is “an agency primed to ignore due process and abandon the rule of law in favor of bureaucratic fiat and administrative absolutism.” Mulvaney went on to warn members of Congress about the Bureau’s “lack of accountability to any representative branch of government.”The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) halted a fraudulent initial coin offering scheme. The SEC claimed that Centra Technologies, which raised $32 million last year, fraudulently offered to sell to consumers debit cards that could convert cryptocurrencies into U.S. dollars.
- The CFPB published a notice requesting input from the public on “assessing the overall effectiveness and accessibility of its guidance materials and activities” and whether any changes should be made to its formats, processes, and delivery methods for such guidance. The commend period closes July 7.
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a quarterly report revealing that more than 55,000 applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were approved by the Trump administration since January 2018. This report had been requested by U.S. District Judge William Alsup after he issued a nationwide injunction on the Trump Administration’s plan to roll back DACA.
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- In a forthcoming paper for Vanderbilt Law Review, Claudia Haupt of Yale Law School discussed how states should weigh free speech considerations in regulating professionals. Haupt argued that “the First Amendment should protect professional speech against state interference that seeks to alter the content of professional advice in a way that contradicts professional knowledge.”
- “Support for stricter gun control laws remains high” after the Parkland shooting, POLITICO’s Steven Shepard concluded from a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Specifically, about 66 percent of voters want tighter gun laws, which is up from 2016 and 2017. Even so, Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer of Morning Consult, reportedly said that the “polling suggests Republican opposition against tougher gun laws has increased in the last few weeks.”
- In a piece for the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy’s 2018 symposium, Irina D. Manta, a professor at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, looked at whether “legislatively-driven regulation or judicially-derived common law” is better at addressing the potential privacy violations arising from a website’s disclosure of sensitive information. Using the case Bollea v. Gawker, Manta concluded that “common law is generally better suited” for the concerns stemming from sensitive content online.