Good morning, Bulletin readers. Today’s news round-up includes stories of a 3D-printed gun backstage on Broadway, and how a fearsome NRA lobbyist in Florida exerts behind-the-scenes influence well beyond the state’s Legislature. Let’s get to it.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Gun violence strains hospital blood banks, study finds. The first-of-its-kind research analyzed 12 years of patient records to assess the blood transfusion needs, and related costs, of bullet-wound patients. Among the conclusions: Shooting victims require 10 times as much blood as other trauma patients, and those blood requirements, on average, carry bills twice as high. Read Elizabeth Van Brocklin’s writeup here.
The FBI’s 2017 crime data is out today. The new Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows the national murder rate holding steady last year after increases in 2015 and 2016. Jeff Asher, a crime analyst based in New Orleans, was up early and digging into the numbers. He notes that his home state had the highest homicide rate for the 29th straight year, and would lead the nation even if New Orleans’s murders were factored out. Keep an eye on our Twitter account and this week’s newsletters as we report on other takeaways from the data.
A gun-reform group is spending nearly $1.5 million to try to oust a single GOP congressman. Five-term Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, which has spent comparatively little on the race, according to our NRA spending tracker. An ad from Giffords shows a hypothetical text message exchange between a mother and a student whose school is on lockdown with a gunman at large. Backdrop: A recent analysis found that campaign ads promoting gun-reform have run 22 times more often than at this point in the midterm cycle four years ago.
The NRA won’t endorse Maryland’s Republican governor in his re-election bid. When Larry Hogan first ran for governor in 2014, the group gave him an A-. But after signing several gun-reform bills, including a “red-flag” law, Hogan’s rating has been downgraded to a C. His Democratic opponent, Ben Jealous, was given an F. Jealous said he considers the mark a “badge of honor.”
A Broadway crew member was found 3D-printing a gun in a backstage prop room. The puppeteer for “The Lion King” was losing his job, and as the production’s security team helped him clear out his belongings, they saw the printer “powered on, moving and in operation,” creating a plastic revolver. The puppeteer said he was making the gun for his brother who lives upstate and has a gun permit. He’s been charged with attempted criminal weapon possession. New York was one of eight states, plus Washington, D.C., that sued in federal court to prevent blueprints for 3D-printed guns from being distributed online.
ONE LAST THING
The NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer will throw her weight around to get what she wants, whether that’s a “stand your ground” law or a $10,000 fine against a pest control company. A report from The Tampa Bay Times includes details from a trove of emails Hammer wrote to various employees at Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the state’s gun-permitting process. Some of her complaints were related to firearms matters. Many were not, including seven emails she wrote within 48 hours, complaining about spam emails. But despite the picayune nature of many of Hammer’s missives, the department’s employees responded within minutes. That’s because, as Mike Spies wrote in a February profile of Hammer, she’s accumulated significant power in Florida, and acts as a de facto member of the governing Republican Party.