Hello, readers. A scoop from reporter Ann Givens reveals the latest example of financial firms getting tough with the gun industry. Meanwhile, reverberations continue for two of the first banks to enter the polarizing gun debate after Parkland.
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New from The Trace: A bank withheld $1.6 million from a top bump stock company after the Las Vegas shooting. Court filings spotted by The Trace’s Ann Givens reveal that Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor of mass-produced bump stocks, is suing the bank that once processed its online sales. The lawsuit alleges that Merrick Bank improperly held some of the company’s money “hostage” in a reserve fund after a gunman using the devices killed 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas last October. Merrick argues that the move was justified given the risks to Slide Fire’s business that arose following the mass shooting.
“This sends a message that [working with gunmakers] is an expensive and nasty business for banks to be in,” Heidi Li Feldman, a tort law expert and legal theorist at Georgetown University Law School, told us. While Slide Fire begs to differ, “it’s a good example of a regulated market doing its thing, she added.
At a meeting in Parkland, Bank of America reaffirms a pledge. After reports in May that the bank would move forward with its $43 million bankruptcy loan to gunmaker Remington, gun reform activists from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community pledged a boycott. On Thursday, the bank sent a group of executives to smooth things over in Parkland, assuring parents and students that they would exit their relationship with Remington and decline to do business with any other company that manufactures military-style weapons for civilian use.
Senate Democrats call for probe into an SEC commissioner’s criticisms of Citigroup’s firearm policy. Six lawmakers are asking the inspector general of the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate whether Republican Commissioner Michael Piwowar tried to persuade Citigroup to end new policies that restrict business with gun makers. The lawmakers expressed concern that Piwowar may have used his government position to “reverse a business decision that conflicts with his personal and political views.”
“No flags” in 291 revoked gun licenses, says Florida gubernatorial candidate. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, whose agency failed to conduct background checks on concealed carry permits for over a year, says that there was no evidence of criminal activity among the close to 300 individuals whose licenses were granted during the background check blackout and later revoked. Putnam added, however, that he would not be notified if a permit-holder were arrested in another state.
Maryland’s bump stock ban draws a legal challenge. On Monday, a local gun rights group filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the new law, which is set to take effect in October, arguing that it violates federal and state constitutions.
An assault weapons ban failed in Indianapolis. On Monday, the NRA came out against the measure, proposed in April, urging supporters to ask members of the Indianapolis City Council to oppose it. By the end of the day Wednesday, the city council had rejected the proposal.
New Jersey’s attorney general takes action on the state’s new “ghost gun” ban. Among the gun measures signed by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday is a ban on untraceable DIY firearms. On Tuesday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was already taking action to enforce the new regulation, sending a number of letters to manufacturers of kits used to make such weapons. “Your actions violate the laws of New Jersey and, if you do not stop these activities within 15 days, I will bring legal action against your company,” the letter reads.
Members of Congress are learning how to “Stop the Bleed” in active shooter scenarios. A hundred Capitol Hill staffers signed up for a training Monday on how to prevent shooting victims from bleeding to death. Four people, including Representative Steve Scalise, were shot during a Congressional baseball practice on June 14, 2017. “There’s no doubt that every single staff member in Capitol Hill has thought about the possibility of a shooting or some targeted violence to their member or their office,” said Representative Raul Ruiz, a doctor who co-hosted the training.
Parkland survivors will sit down with the families of church shooting victims. Student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are on a nationwide summer bus tour as part of March For Our Lives: Road to Change. One of their first stops: Charleston, South Carolina, the site of a church shooting that left nine people dead on June 17, 2015.
A man was killed in a road rage shooting on his way to the hospital for his son’s birth. The child was born one day after his father, Todd Neal, Jr. was killed by a motorist in Fort Worth, Texas. “Baby Ashton was brought into this world June 12, 2018 never having the chance to meet his father,” a fundraiser for the family reads. Related: A 2017 analysis from The Trace shows that road rage incidents involving firearms more than doubled over three years.