Hello, readers. We’ve updated our “red flag law” tracker — and identified a new way that the National Rifle Association is fighting the bills. Also in today’s briefing: A seven-figure boost to anti-violence programs in Pennsylvania, an eight-figure loan by a bank that talked tough on assault-style rifles, and an analysis that shows guns surpassing cars as a killer of America’s young people.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Bank of America pledged to stop financing makers of assault-style weapons. Now it’s preparing a $43 million loan to one of them. Weeks after the bank announced it would stop financing manufacturing of “military-style” weapons for civilians, B of A joined a group of seven lenders providing bankruptcy financing to the gun manufacturer Remington. The details of the deal would allow B of A to find another bank to take over the loan, though such a move would expose the bank to legal and business risks. Bank of America told Reuters it doesn’t comment on client matters. According to Reuters, 30 financial institution declined to provide financing for Remington as it prepared to enter bankruptcy this winter, many citing firearms concerns.
An expert on corporate restructuring wonders whether the bank missed an opportunity to pressure Remington for changes. “It’s perfectly reasonable for them to say to any borrower, ‘We’re happy to lend to you if you don’t make military-style assault weapons,” Ted Gavin of the Gavin/Solmonese LLC restructuring advisory firm told Reuters. “The lender has all the power.”
Fox Business on B of A’s balancing act: “Bank of America is keeping its commitment because of concerns that its withdrawal from a court-supervised bankruptcy proceeding would leave the bank liable to lawsuits, as well as hurting its reputation for keeping its commitments,” a source familiar with the situation told the channel.
Note: Because of an editing error, the newsletter version of the B of A news mischaracterized the nature of the bank’s decision as a “flip flop” and failed to note that the loan to Remington was in place before B of A decided to stop providing financial support to companies that make assault-style rifles.
Guns kill more young people than car accidents, a study by the progressive Center for American Progress finds. Looking at data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Crime Victimization Survey, researchers determined that gun violence was the second-leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 29, after drug overdoses.
Another insurance company receives a multi-million dollar fine for its role in the NRA’s Carry Guard program. Last week, regulators in New York announced that the self-defense insurance violated state law. The brokerage firm Lockton Affinity, which administers the program, agreed to pay $7 million. On Monday, the New York State Department of Financial Services said it had also fined Chubb, the program’s insurer, $1.3 million. Chubb and Lockton both announced in February that they were cutting ties with the NRA.
Pennsylvania’s governor announced a $1.5 million grant program to prevent violent crime. The Gun Violence Reduction Initiative will give state dollars to programs in Philadelphia and other cities that take a public health approach to urban violence.
Oklahoma’s “Stand Your Ground” law now extends to churches. Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday signed a measure that adds places of worship to the list of places where Oklahoma citizens have a right to use guns in self-defense. Fallin is still considering a separate permitless-carry gun bill.
In St. Louis, 11 people were killed in just as many days. The deaths occurred between April 26 and Sunday night in the Missouri city, which has the highest homicide rate in the country. The victims included 14-year-old Oscar Johnson III, who was fatally shot in his bedroom by a 13-year-old boy last Wednesday.
A new take on the gun buyback model: trade in your weapon for a ride in a Rolls-Royce. A high-end car dealer in Miami is offering free rentals to anyone who surrenders a firearm. Rashawn Welch, the owner of the luxury car rental service, is working with the Miami Gardens Police Department on the initiative to get guns off the streets.
A Ku Klux Klan leader was found guilty of firing a gun at last summer’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. Richard W. Preston was caught on video shouting a racial slur and firing a handgun on a crowded sidewalk during the rally. He previously said he was acting in self-defense but pleaded no contest to the charge on Tuesday. He will face up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced in August.
A shooting that began with a domestic violence incident left multiple people dead in Maryland on Monday. Police say a man who held his wife captive over the weekend fatally shot his neighbor and two others after she fled to a home across the street. His wife and two others were able to escape. The man then barricaded himself in his own home for seven hours before taking his own life.
THE LATEST FROM THE TRACE
We’ve updated our “red flag law” tracker to reflect recent action in state capitols. Since March, editorial fellow Sean Campbell has been tracking the status of every temporary gun-seizure law currently pending in the United States. When we first published the tracker, we found that despite the NRA’s public endorsement of so-called red flag laws, the group has been quietly fighting against the measures at the state level. Now, a new argument has emerged from the gun group, whose lobbyists have stirred opposition to some of the bills because they single out the lethal risks of guns, rather than weapons generally.
Nevertheless, enthusiasm for red flag laws has endured in some state legislatures across the country. So far in 2018, five governors have signed red flag laws into law, doubling the number of states with these measures in place. Proposals are still under consideration in 11 states.
To see the status of red flag laws in your state, please click through to the full post.