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Another state shutdown protest is linked to pro-gun firebrands. Hundreds of protesters — some of them toting rifles, few wearing face coverings — gathered yesterday at the Pennsylvania capitol for a rally to “reopen” the state organized in part by Chris Dorr. Reddit threads and a subsequent report in The Washington Post over the weekend revealed that Dorr and his brothers Aaron and Ben were behind a number of nearly identical, ostensibly grassroots Facebook groups in several states that promoted demonstrations against stay-at-home orders. As we learn more about the siblings, these two articles have begun to fill in their profiles:
- A Fox affiliate in Minnesota reported last winter that one of the Dorrs’ online groups, Minnesota Gun Rights, had come under scrutiny from the state Attorney General’s Office for operating as a nonprofit despite having had its tax-exempt status revoked.
- Cleveland.com pieced together tax filings from the Dorrs’ network, which an expert in campaign finance law said raised flags: “It seems to me like what they’re doing is using [their state groups] just to drum up business to themselves.”
In hard-hit Detroit, scores of cops have been out sick — while shootings creep back up. More than 1,000 officers from the city’s Police Department have faced quarantine at some point, The New York Times reports. Now they have a new worry: After violent crime slowed slightly in March as Michigan residents sheltered at home, the first week of April brought eight homicides and 27 nonfatal shootings in the city. “We are trying to balance that spike in violent crime while knowing that we have to reduce manpower,” said Evette Griffie, a member of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners. “It is hard.”
The NRA’s political fundraising held steady last month. The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund reported $1.1 million in donations during March, a notch above its monthly average for the 2020 election cycle. During the same period of the 2016 campaign cycle, the gun group’s campaign arm took in $1.5 million. Another yardstick: Political giving to the NRA has often surged along with gun sales after mass shootings or during election seasons as owners stock up on firearms and give to the NRA to defeat new gun laws. (The NRA-PFV had its two strongest fundraising months following the Parkland school shooting.) The NRA did not see a similarly large spike in donations in March 2020, even with gun background checks at record levels.
Local political leaders and advocates want to ensure that Maryland gun dealers comply with social distancing. “We are concerned about the evidence of long lines in and outside crowded stores and about customers touching inventory items and inadvertently spreading disease,” wrote the Montgomery County Council and nonprofit allies in a letter to Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who has deemed firearm dealers as an essential business. The coalition is also concerned about the state’s ability to process gun background checks at the pace required by the jump in demand.
Canada’s prime minister vows action on an assault weapons ban. “It was interrupted when the pandemic caused Parliament to be suspended, but we have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when Parliament returns,” Justin Trudeau said a day after the country’s deadliest mass shooting claimed 18 lives.
11 — The number of mass shootings (four or more people shot) in Canada in the last 20 years. — The Trace