The slain gunman in the shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and the suspect in the shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket were both just 18 when they bought the weapons used in the attacks, authorities say. They were too young to legally buy alcohol or cigarettes, but old enough to arm themselves with assault weapons.
The Buffalo suspect was taken to a hospital last year for a mental health evaluation, but the incident didn’t trigger New York’s “red flag” law, so he was still able to buy a gun. The Texas gunman’s mother told ABC he gave her an “uneasy feeling” at times and could “be aggressive … If he really got mad.” But authorities say he had no known criminal or mental health history. The state has no such red flag law.
These are just the latest U.S. mass shootings in which the gunman or suspected gunman’s ability to obtain guns has raised concerns. In some cases the guns were obtained legally under current firearms laws, or because of background check lapses or law enforcement’s failure to heed warnings of concerning behavior.
A look at how suspects in mass shootings over a decade obtained guns, based on police accounts, court documents and contemporaneous reporting
In an 11-page letter to the panel Friday, an attorney for McCarthy argued that the select committee does not have the authority to issue subpoenas to the lawmakers under House rules and demanded answers to a series of questions and documents if his client were to comply.
Attorney Elliot Berke requested a list of Topics that the Select Committee would like to discuss with the Leader, and the constitutional and legal rationale justifying the request.”
“I expressly reserve Leader McCarthy’s right to assert any other applicable privilege or objection to the Select Committee’s subpoena,” Berke wrote.
The House panel believes testimony from the Republican lawmakers is crucial to its investigation as each of the men was in contact with then-President Trump and his allies in the weeks and days leading up to the Capitol insurrection. Some participated in meetings and urged the White House to try to overturn the 2020 presidential results.
His apparent defiance presents a new challenge for the committee after lawmakers decided to take the extraordinary and politically risky step of subpoenaing their own colleagues.
“For House Republican leaders to agree to participate in this political stunt would change the House forever,” the California lawmaker wrote Thursday in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal with GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
The committee now must decide whether to enforce the subpoenas even as it looks to wrap up the investigation and prepare for a series of public hearings in early June. It could refer the lawmakers to the House ethics committee or take steps to hold them in contempt.
The subpoenas were issued to McCarthy, Jordan and Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama in mid-May. The panel has already interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and collected more than 100,000 documents as it investigates the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.
“I have no relevant information that would advance any legitimate legislative purpose,” Jordan said in a letter detailing his reasons for not cooperating. The others indicated after the subpoenas were issued that they too would not cooperate.
Perry’s lawyer sent the committee a letter earlier this week saying he could “not in good conscience comply” with the subpoena because he does not believe it is valid under House rules.
Requests for comment from Biggs and Brooks were not immediately returned.
The panel had previously asked for voluntary cooperation from the five lawmakers, along with a handful of other GOP members, but all refused to speak with the panel, which debated for months whether to issue the subpoenas.
McCarthy and the others were summoned to testify in front of investigators this week and next week. McCarthy, who aspires to be House speaker if Republicans take over the majority next year, indicated that the committee’s decision will have a lasting impact.
“Every representative in the minority would be subject to compelled interrogations by the majority, under oath, without any foundation of fairness, and at the expense of taxpayers,” he wrote in the op-ed.
In a separate move, McCarthy and the No. 2 House Republican, Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, filed a court brief in support of Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon, who is facing criminal contempt charges for defying a subpoena from the committee. In the brief, lawyers for the two write that the committee does not have the authority to issue subpoenas, an argument that has been dismissed in other court proceedings.
A federal judge on Friday dismissed Donald Trump’s lawsuit against New York Atty. Gen. Letitia James, rejecting the former president’s claim that she targeted him out of political animus and allowing her civil investigation into his business practices to continue.
In a 43-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Brenda Sannes wrote that case law bars federal judges from interfering in state-level investigations, with limited exceptions, and that there wasn’t evidence to support the Republican’s contention that James, a Democrat, was proceeding in bad faith because of their differing political views.
Sannes, who was appointed in 2014 by former President Obama, a Democrat, said James had a legitimate basis for investigating Trump and his company, the Trump Organization, and that Trump failed to show that recent court proceedings seeking to enforce subpoenas on him were “commenced for the purpose of retaliation.”
James’ public statements about Trump “make clear that she disagrees vehemently with Mr. Trump’s political views,” Sannes wrote, but Trump and his lawyers failed to demonstrate any connection between her opinions and how the investigation has played out.
“The fact that [James’] public statements reflect personal and/or political animus toward [Trump] is not, in and of itself, sufficient,” Sannes wrote.
James heralded Friday’s ruling as a “big victory” over a “frivolous” lawsuit. Sannes’ decision came a day after a New York appeals court ruled that Trump must answer questions under oath in James’ probe, upholding a lower-court ruling requiring him to sit for a deposition.