Good morning, Bulletin readers. A longshot candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination is staking his chances on an aggressive set of gun control proposals. Meanwhile, the now-official frontrunner has a legislative record that shows the party didn’t used to be so bullish about taking on the NRA. Those stories and more in your end-of-week briefing.

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NEW from THE TRACE: Groups sue FEC over failure to act on possible NRA campaign finance violations. The suit filed by the Campaign Legal Center, an election watchdog, and the gun reform group Giffords said the Federal Election Commission ignored multiple complaints detailing the National Rifle Association’s alleged use of shell corporations to support a number of Republican candidates for federal office, including President Donald Trump. The suit cited The Trace, which was the first to report on the violations. You can read more about the lawsuit here.

The Coast Guard officer accused of stockpiling guns and compiling a hit list may be released before trial. A federal judge in Maryland agreed to release Christopher Hasson with supervision in the coming days ahead of his trial on gun and drug charges. A self-proclaimed white nationalist, Hassan was arrested in February with 15 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his home. Prosecutors called Hasson a “domestic terrorist” who planned mass murder, but ultimately did not bring terrorism charges against him.

“I’m the only candidate for president calling for a ban on and buy-back of military-style assault weapons.” That’s Representative Eric Swalwell of California, laying out his gun policy platform for an op-ed in USA Today. Swalwell also calls for expanded access to mental health care and trauma counseling, and community-based law enforcement efforts to combat gang violence.

A New York boy died in an accidental home shooting while lawmakers tweak a safe storage measure. The 12-year-old died Wednesday days after inadvertently shooting himself in his Yonkers home. The New York Legislature passed a bill in March that would impose criminal penalties on adults who fail to secure firearms in homes with minors. But the bill has yet to be sent to the governor’s desk, in part because of concerns from gun owners who say the legislation could restrict children who participate in shooting sports.

Idaho is more dependent on the gun industry than any other state. That’s according to the personal finance website WalletHub, which issues an annual report ranking states based on how heavily intertwined they are with the gun business, a calculation that takes into account gun industry jobs, gun sales, gun ownership, and gun laws. New Jersey, which has some of the nation’s toughest gun regulations, was named least dependent on the gun industry.

A mail carrier was fatally shot after trying to de-escalate a fight. Jose Hernandez, 47, was doing his rounds in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday afternoon when he came across a 17-year old arguing with his mother. When the teen got aggressive, Hernandez sprayed him with pepper spray. Police say the teen ran back into the house, retrieved a gun, and shot the mail carrier in the stomach. Hernandez was an Army veteran and father of four.


Joe Biden wasn’t always a gun reform champion. The latest entrant in the 2020 Democratic primary has an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association. In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama tasked him with leading gun reform efforts on Capitol Hill. But as a senator from Delaware during the Reagan era, he sided with the NRA to push through the Firearm Owners Protection Act, or FOPA, which the gun group calls “the law that saved gun rights” in America. Biden, then the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, engineered a compromise that preserved handgun restrictions while rolling back regulations on transporting guns across state lines. “During my 12 and a half years as a member of this body, I have never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime,” he said at the time.