Guns, law and shooting at Uvalde primary school

Yesterday’s horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas has heightened the intensity of the national gun control debate and the emotions surrounding it.

The shooter killed 21 people, including 19 children, making it the deadliest shooting at a US elementary school since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Because he turned 18 this month, the shooter was able to legally purchase two AR-15-style rifles in Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Shortly after the shooting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to pave the way for forced votes on legislation that would strengthen background checks on gun buyers. Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell said he was “horrified and heartbroken” by the shooting. But he and other Republican lawmakers have given no sign they might abandon their longstanding opposition to tougher gun laws, even though polls show Americans overwhelmingly support such measures.

With the Senate split 50-50, any gun legislation would need the support of all Democrats and at least 10 Republicans to move forward. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he still supports the background check legislation he and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey introduced after Sandy Hook, but yesterday he said he was not in favor of it. removal of the filibuster to pass such a bill.

Here’s how the latest mass shooting is likely to reverberate in Washington and elsewhere:

  • President Biden’s nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Steven Dettelbach, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. The hearing was already going to shine a light on Biden’s stalled gun control agenda, but the shooting ups the ante. Republicans have portrayed Biden’s nominee as a threat to Second Amendment rights.

  • The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting opens Friday in Houston, 300 miles from the site of the massacre. Former President Donald Trump, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas and Senator Ted Cruz are among those scheduled to speak, and their remarks will be closely scrutinized. Asked yesterday about the need for gun control measures, Cruz blamed Democrats and the media for rushing to “try to curtail the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

  • The shooting could increase pressure on businesses to cut ties with the NRA, as some did following the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. This attack led to a bigger push for boycott than other recent shootings, perhaps because the survivors were teenagers who were adept at taking advantage of social media.

  • Immediately after the shooting, the California Senate passed a bill allowing citizens to sue manufacturers or sellers of untraceable “ghost weapons” and illegal assault weapons. The bill is modeled after Texas abortion law which also overrides private citizens. Other states could try similar regulatory approaches.

  • Fresh calls for tougher controls could lead to a spike in gun sales. A month after the Sandy Hook shootings, a record two million guns were sold. Gun maker stocks often rise after mass shootings, but performance of major gun stocks was mixed this morning, with Smith & Wesson up 1%, Sturm Ruger down 1 % and Vista Outdoor down 2%.

“Gun makers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons to their greatest and greatest profit,” Biden said in an address to the nation yesterday. “For God’s sake, we must have the courage to stand up to the industry.” It could be the mass shooting that leads to significant change – or it could join the long list of other atrocities that have been followed by political deadlock.

Here is some ways to help victims of the shooting in Uvalde.

The Biden administration is blocking Russia from paying US bondholders. The move raises the likelihood of Russia’s first foreign debt default in more than a century. Meanwhile, fighting is intensifying in Ukraine’s Donbass region, where Ukrainian officials say they expect a devastating siege in Sievierodonetsk, the easternmost city still under Ukrainian control.

One in five adult Covid survivors in the United States may develop long Covid. A large study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which assessed the electronic medical records of nearly two million people, found that the most common post-Covid ailments, regardless of age, were respiratory problems and musculoskeletal pain.

Glencore will pay $1.1 billion to settle corruption and price-fixing charges. U.S. prosecutors said the settlement with the mining and commodities trading giant followed a “multi-year plan to manipulate benchmarks used to set oil prices at two of our nation’s busiest ports.”

Two candidates in Georgia defeated challengers backed by Trump. Governor Brian Kemp defeated David Perdue in a win that represented a resounding rebuke from former President Donald Trump. The win sets Kemp up for a rematch with Stacey Abrams. In the race for Secretary of State, Republican incumbent Brad Raffensperger avoided a runoff against Rep. Jody Hice.

UK approves sale of Chelsea FC to US-led investor group. The British government has approved the $3.1 billion sale of the football club after being assured that none of the proceeds would go to its Russian seller, Roman Abramovich, who put his team on the market at the haste three months ago, almost as soon as Russian troops entered Ukraine.

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has been betting big on crypto through the market ups and downs. But nothing like it.

With the cryptocurrency market reeling – after the collapse of a so-called stablecoin helped send the price of Bitcoin crashing and wipe out $300 billion in value from the wider crypto economy – the company announced this morning that it is launching its fourth and largest crypto fund, dedicating $4.5 billion to blockchain investments. “It speaks to the size of the opportunity,” Arianna Simpson, the firm’s general partner, told DealBook. “We are delighted to overtake.”

The new fund will bring the company’s total investment in crypto to $7.6 billion. About $1.5 billion of the fund will go to seed investments and $3 billion to venture capital bets, supporting projects of all kinds, from infrastructure to middleware to consumer applications.

Andreessen Horowitz, often referred to as A16Z, believes the internet can be improved by creating a new layer of infrastructure known as web3, based on blockchain technology and powered by cryptocurrencies. Believers say it will transform commerce and finance, allowing users to transact without intermediaries, get paid for their participation, and help govern businesses.

Currently, tech companies are “mostly extractive, taking and profiting from data,” Simpson said, but web3 offers “a completely new approach to ownership.”

The company fears the recent crash could prompt officials to enact regulations that could curb crypto growth, Simpson said. Andreessen Horowitz launched a lobbying effort last year to help make his case in Washington.

— Billionaire financier George Soros, speaking about the war in Ukraine yesterday at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. Soros declared the invasion of Russia “maybe the beginning” of World War III.

When former President Donald Trump’s social media company and its merger partner announced in December that they had raised an additional $1 billion in private funding for the deal, it sparked speculation about the identities of the investors.

Now, a draft document shared with Matthew Goldstein of The Times sheds some light. Investors are primarily a mix of small to medium sized hedge funds based in the US and Canada. Hedge funds Pentwater Capital and Sabby Management are two of the biggest investors in the private placement, as The Times previously reported. Funds associated with Pentwater, a $10 billion hedge fund based in Naples, Fla., are expected to get the most shares from the deal, according to the draft filing.

Other big investors include Anson Funds Management, Kershner Trading Americas, K2 & Associates, Yorkville Advisors and MMCAP.

So far, Trump Media — which hired former Rep. Devin Nunes, a staunch Trump ally, as chief executive in December — hasn’t disclosed earnings and its social network has struggled to gain traction. . Two people briefed on the matter said a final version of the draft was due to be filed with regulators tomorrow, although the timeline could change.

Bankers at Trump Media told potential investors that those willing to put up at least $100 million would get a call from Mr. Trump, according to five people who were briefed on the arguments but were not authorized to speak publicly.

Among the funds that have turned down Trump Media bankers are Millennium Management, a $57 billion hedge fund; Hudson Bay Capital, a $15 billion hedge fund; and Balyasny Asset Management, a hedge fund with $13 billion in assets. Apollo Global Management, the large private equity firm, also died, a person briefed on the matter said.



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