Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: More evidence that gun reform could be a potent issue this November. A skeptical look inside the billion-dollar school security industry. And images from a gun parts dealer’s website, before and after The Trace exposed its shady business practices.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Nationally, gun violence is a top concern for women voters. A survey commissioned by the women’s advocacy organization YWCA shows that women, especially minorities and millennials, rank gun violence among the issues they care most about, along with health care. Eighty-nine percent of those polled also called for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides law enforcement with more tools to remove guns from abusers. The act, which would expand laws that keep guns from domestic abusers and stalkers, expired on September 30 amid zero support from Republicans in Congress, but was granted a two-month extension.
And a reporter sees the politics of guns shifting in Florida. This year, Republican candidates for state and national office have embraced gun reform, while the National Rifle Association has so far been less of a factor in the state than in past cycles. “If you think about the long-term trajectory of the issue, the fact that the NRA wasn’t able to make an example of someone stepping out of line [this year], it gives people hope who want to see further gun safety laws passed,” a Democratic strategist tells the The Tampa Bay Times.
There’s no evidence that the booming school security industry will save lives, according to an Associated Press investigation. Since the Parkland shooting, security companies have been selling school districts and federal lawmakers high-tech “solutions” to mass shootings, and they’ve made billions in the process. But there’s no independent research to back up their claims. “If we’re just expecting technology to solve all these problems, I think we’re going to fall short,” one school safety expert said. “And we may not like the climate we create.”
A proposed federal assault-weapons ban draws a prominent Democratic convert. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia expressed regret over his post-Sandy Hook vote against a federal assault weapons ban and announced that he’s signing on as a sponsor of a new bill banning the high-powered rifles. “Though I remain convinced that strengthening our background check system is critical,” Warner wrote, “I also believe we must do more to end mass shootings.”
A federal judge blessed New Jersey’s new ban on high-capacity magazines. The law, passed after Parkland, gives gun owners until early December to jettison any gun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. In rejecting a challenge from a gun rights group, the district court found the ban does not “prevent ownership of any type of gun and does not restrict the quantity of ammunition a gun owner may possess.” Rather, it “merely restricts the quantity of bullets a magazine may hold.” The gun rights group immediately moved to take the case to a higher court.
A gun company is gifting AR-15s to school resource officers. The gun dealer Brownells has donated nine AR-15 rifles to school resource officers in North Dakota, following a request from the Bismarck Police Department in August. School resource officers in the city already carry handguns, but police say the new rifles will improve their ability to shoot long-range.
A man who killed his girlfriend over the weekend had a history of domestic abuse convictions. James T. Sykes, 39, shot and killed Sherry Waller, 34, a mother of five, at her Wisconsin home on Saturday before killing himself, police said. Sykes had been convicted of domestic abuse at least three times since 2009 and was prohibited from owning a firearm. The big picture: Last year in Wisconsin, 62 people were killed in domestic violence homicides. Guns were used more often than all other means combined. Nationwide, a woman is fatally shot by her partner every 16 hours, we calculated in 2016.
ONE LAST THING
Following The Trace’s reporting, an upstart gun dealer removed rifles from its website. Last week, Alex Yablon reported that a company called RW Arms planned to sell bump stocks amid congressional inaction and the Justice Department’s inherently halting steps toward banning the devices. RW Arms, which had links to the shuttered bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire, also sold rifles with bump stocks already attached — but lacked the required federal license to do so. In response to our questions, the ATF referred the matter to its enforcement division. On Tuesday, Alex noticed that RW Arms had removed the rifles from its website.