Good morning, Bulletin readers. Your end-of-week news roundup leads with a look at a big obstacle to reforming the NRA from within: The group’s own board of directors. Plus, elementary school students across the country rallied against gun violence in the summer heat.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: NRA reformers confront a board built to protect LaPierre. A loose faction of the National Rifle Association’s members, directors, and donors have pushed for changes at the organization in light of reports of extensive financial misconduct. Several have called for the resignation of longtime leader Wayne LaPierre. But one former board member believes LaPierre has the unshakeable fealty of roughly two dozen current board members, a bloc big enough to quash any votes to oust him. And the gun group’s bylaws make it difficult to replace loyalists with new directors who might force the NRA to clean house. Alex Yablon has the full story.
Kids protested gun violence as part of a national day of social action. In St. Louis, elementary school children assembled at City Hall. Dozens of kids marched through downtown Flint, Michigan. And in St. Paul, more than 1,000 gathered at the state Capitol. “This event is about gun violence and how children are dying and we don’t want that,” an 11-year-old participant said. The protests were part of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools summer program.
Only 11 people have been convicted of possessing high-capacity magazines in the six years of a Colorado ban. The law was enacted in the aftermath of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, during which a gunman armed with 100-round drum magazine shot 71 people, killing 12. But gun owners in the state are openly flouting its restrictions, particularly at shooting ranges, Guns & America reported. The handful who have faced punishment have mostly been found with high-capacity ammunition magazines while committing other crimes.
Baltimore’s top cop unveiled a new crime-fighting strategy. At a press conference on Thursday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said he plans to deploy officers to “micro zones” — a smattering of two-square-block areas that are responsible for a disproportionate share of the city’s gun violence — to engage with the community and target repeat gun offenders.
Chicago official: Bail reform is not to blame for the city’s gun violence. In a letter to the new mayor, Toni Preckwinkle, the head of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, accused the police superintendent of blaming relaxed bail policies for the city’s shootings. The real culprit, Preckwinkle said, is the department’s extremely low clearance rate for homicides. From The Trace archives: In January, Sarah Ryley reported that clearance rates for homicides and gun assaults in 22 American cities, including Chicago, are abysmally low and dropping.
Anti-gun-violence advocates in Oregon mobilize for safe gun storage. A gun reform nonprofit called State of Safety Action filed a petition on Wednesday to place a safe storage and lost or stolen gun reporting requirement on the 2020 ballot. A similar measure has stalled in the state Legislature.
A 19-year-old whose brother died at Sandy Hook is running for the state Legislature as a gun-rights Republican. JT Lewis was 12 when his 6-year-old brother Jesse was killed. He is running to unseat fellow Republican Tony Hwang, who has previously supported gun reform measures. That Lewis is a Republican and a Trump supporter puts him at odds with many of his fellow teen school shooting survivors.
A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty to illegally selling guns. Federal prosecutors in California say Wei Xu, 56, admitted to selling at least 99 handguns without the proper licensing over a period of 20 years and possessing 40 unregistered machine guns. Police found more than 250 unregistered guns at his home upon his arrest in February.
ONE LAST THING
They’ve tried die-ins. Now teen activists in Iowa are staging a “dance-in.” On Saturday, members of March for Our Lives Iowa are gathering in Cedar Rapids for “Dance for Our Lives,” which will feature a dance floor and a DJ, as well as speeches from gun reform advocates and a state senator. Several Democratic presidential candidates — including Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang — sent in videos to be played during the event, which “will be centered around a ‘club’ vibe,” its organizers say. “We wanted to have something fun to bring awareness to something that is so bad,” Olivia Kennedy, March for Our Lives Iowa’s co-founder, told Little Village Mag.