Good morning, Bulletin readers. An insider account of machinations at the NRA leads your Friday roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The plan to oust NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre had more support than previously known. The New York Times reports that the effort this spring to force out the public face of the National Rifle Association involved not just former top lobbyist Christopher Cox; then-president Oliver North; the organization’s longtime advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen; and several board members and donors, but also three of the gun group’s outside law firms and Cox’s in-house counsel, Charles J. Cooper. LaPierre fired Cooper on Thursday, and an outside counsel and another in-house attorney resigned. LaPierre also wants to stop paying Cox, who’s still receiving income from the gun group.
President Trump is weighing a $40 to $60 million initiative to identify links between mass shootings and mental illness. The “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes,” or Safe Home program, would identify “neurobehavioral signs” of “someone headed toward a violent explosive act.” The plan was pitched by a former NBC exec who wants it to be included in a new agency, the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA). As we’ve previously reported, mental health experts say that blaming mass shootings only on mental illness is a way to deflect attention from gun laws.
Dick’s Sporting Goods saw its strongest single-quarter sales in three years despite cutting back gun sales. Sales rose 3.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, the highest since 2016, CEO Ed Stack said Thursday. He said the company is “continuing the strategic review of its hunt business” five months after pulling hunting gear — including long guns — from 125 of its 730 stores. The retailer stopped selling assault-style rifles and high-capacity magazines after Parkland.
The governor of Texas met with tech executives to discuss how to quell online hate. The meeting on Thursday with officials from Google, Facebook, and Twitter is the first of a series of roundtables convened by Republican Greg Abbott after the El Paso massacre. The discussions aim to address “keeping guns out of the hands of deranged individuals” while also “safeguard[ing] Second Amendment rights.”
The head of New York’s largest healthcare provider urged fellow execs to embrace gun reform. Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, calling on healthcare CEOs “to combat the health crisis of gun violence in America,” a problem he said they’ve made worse by failing to act.
Four people were shot at a back-to-school block party in Atlanta. Someone fired into a crowd of 200 people outside Clark Atlanta University on Tuesday night, wounding four women. “It could have been any of us,” a witness told The New York Times. “Stuff like this shouldn’t happen on a school campus.”
The ex-wife of a public housing official in Georgia killed herself and their two children. Marsha Edwards, 58, shot and killed her 20-year-old daughter and 24-year-old son in her home on Wednesday. Her ex-husband, Dr. Christopher Edwards, is chairman of the board of commissioners for the Atlanta Housing Authority.
A Michigan court overturned the felony conviction of a woman who brandished an unloaded gun in self-defense. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that the circuit court judge who convicted the 26-year-old pregnant woman for aiming a legally owned gun at a woman who tried to hit her and her family with a car in 2017 erred in equating the threat of deadly force with the use of deadly force.
ONE LAST THING
Arms traffickers are turning to social media to circumvent California’s strict gun laws. Snapchat’s prohibition on gun advertising isn’t stopping smugglers from marketing guns banned in the Golden State, like assault-style pistols and rifles, The Guardian reports. Three California residents have been charged with illegally selling guns through the app in the last couple of years; one Oakland-based trafficking ring sold more than 100 guns in the Bay Area, federal prosecutors say. The social media posts pushing guns, while illegal, have nonetheless proven to be useful leads for the police about gun traffickers and their customers.