Happy Friday, Bulletin readers. Your end-of-week briefing kicks off with our latest scoop on the NRA’s improper campaign finance practices: FCC documents point to illegal campaign coordination between the group and Republican Senate candidates in key 2016 and 2018 races.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: The NRA appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in three high-profile Senate races. On the heels of last month’s bombshell report by The Trace and Mother Jones documenting illegal coordination between the National Rifle Association and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign comes more evidence that the gun group may have violated federal election finance laws: Mike Spies and Christopher Hooks tracked down Federal Communications Commission records that point to illegal coordination between the NRA and Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Montana in 2018, and North Carolina in 2016. Read on for more.
Senate Republicans re-upped a failed national concealed carry reciprocity bill. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019, unveiled Thursday, would let a gun owner with a permit to carry a hidden firearm in one state also carry in the other 49. Gun rights advocates say it’s a solution to the patchwork of state laws. Critics say the bill would pose a threat to public safety, since standards for concealed gun carriers vary so widely. The legislation has been the NRA’s top federal legislative priority. From The Trace archives: Here’s everything you need to know about concealed carry reciprocity.
The attorney general of North Carolina is trying to overturn a law barring people in same-sex relationships from getting restraining orders. North Carolina is the only state in the country that has such a law. In a legal brief filed Monday, Attorney General Josh Stein argued that it’s unconstitutional and could jeopardize victims’ safety. Among other things, protective orders can force alleged abusers to give up their guns.
The mayor of Boston wants to require doctors to ask patients about guns in their homes. The goal of Mayor Marty Walsh’s upcoming proposal is to identify risks of suicide and domestic violence. “This is a great way for the medical field to help identify any red-flag issues,” the city’s police commissioner said. “It’s to put another tool in the physician’s belt.”
A Nebraska state senator introduced a red flag bill. The Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, introduced Thursday, would empower police to remove guns from potentially dangerous people after a court hearing. An Omaha-area sheriff called it a “critical” public safety tool. A total of 13 states have red flag laws, eight of them enacted after Parkland. Find out where your state stands with our red flag law tracker.
A rookie police officer was gunned down in Louisiana. Chatéri Payne, 22, was about to start her overnight shift when she was fatally shot while leaving for work in Shreveport on Wednesday night. She’d been on the job less than two months. Upon her graduation from the police academy in November, she wrote on Facebook that her “personal mission” was “to protect those who can’t protect themselves.” Police have not arrested any suspects.
ONE LAST THING
The ACLU and the NRA share the same concerns about red flag laws. Some states’ red flag bills have drawn opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union because of due process concerns, The Incline reports, putting the left-leaning civil liberties organization on the same side as the NRA. While the ACLU isn’t opposed to the concept of disarming potentially dangerous people, the language in certain states’ bills could lead to police overreach, the group’s legislative director in Pennsylvania said in a memo last year, when a red flag bill was being considered by the state Legislature. After Parkland, the NRA signaled support for red flag laws, but behind the scenes the gun group watered down the Pennsylvania legislation, then mobilized opposition to it anyway.