What To Know Today

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s security measures evidently involved disguise. At a recent hearing in the gun group’s Texas bankruptcy case, Bill Winkler, the chief financial officer of the National Rifle Association’s former public relations firm, recounted his shock at LaPierre’s appearance at a 2018 meeting in Dallas. “When I sat down in the room, I almost didn’t recognize Wayne,” Winkler said. “Whatever was going on with him, he was extremely scared about something, all the way to the point where he was in a disguise. He was saying he could not go to his house, he did not know where he was going to be safe.” Winkler said the purchase of a home where LaPierre could live anonymously was discussed. The NRA would agree to pay $6.5 million to fund the proposed purchase, which was never finalized. Parts of a deposition given by Woody Phillips, the NRA’s former CFO, were also read in court. Phillips, who like LaPierre is a defendant in New York Attorney General Letita James’s suit against the gun group, helped engineer many of the financial arrangements under scrutiny in the case. While being deposed, Phillips repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination and declined to answer questions. Tomorrow, several dissident board members seeking independent investigation of James’s accusations are to testify. On Wednesday, the NRA will begin presenting its case for allowing the bankruptcy to proceed. — Will Van Sant, staff writer

FedEx shooter legally purchased rifles he used despite prior gun seizure and Indiana’s red flag law. Police say they took a shotgun from the perpetrator in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental state. The gun was never returned to him, but The New York Times reports that the seizure was not made using the state’s red flag law, which can temporarily bar someone from possessing guns for at least six months. And within months of having his shotgun taken, the man went on to legally purchase the two guns he used in Thursday’s massacre, police said. Indianapolis’s Sikh community on edge. Four of the eight people killed were identified as Sikh, a religious group that has been targeted by violence in the past. Community members gathered over the weekend to mourn and discuss the prejudice they’ve faced. “Given everything our community has experienced in the past, the pattern of violence, bigotry and backlash we have faced, it is impossible not to feel that same pain and targeting in this moment,” said one representative of the Sikh Coalition of Indianapolis. Police are still searching for a motive in the attack, but the Times notes that officers found white supremacist content on the shooter’s computer last year. 

Nine mass shootings in four days. That’s according to the Gun Violence Archive, which counts 13 people killed and 45 injured across the U.S. since Thursday. There were three other incidents (in Chicago; Pensacola, Florida; and Washington, D.C.) the same day as the Indianapolis shooting. Since then, there have been mass shootings in LaPlace, Louisiana; Shreveport, Louisiana; Columbus, Ohio; Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Detroit. Yesterday’s shooting in LaPlace left six people injured during a 12-year-old’s birthday party. In Kenosha early Sunday, a gunman opened fire at a tavern and killed three and injured three others; a suspect was in custody. In a separate incident in Austin, Texas, three people were fatally shot in an apartment complex on Sunday. Authorities are still looking for the 41-year-old suspect, a former Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

Anthony Fauci on gun violence: “How can you say that’s not a public health issue?” The chief medical adviser to the president answered a question about the string of recent shootings during CNN’s State of the Union yesterday. “You know, myself, as a public health person, I think you can’t run away from that,” he said when host Dana Bash asked him if gun violence was a public health emergency. “When you see people getting killed — I mean, in this last month, it’s just been horrifying what’s happened.”

Veteran gun reporter launches new publication focused on firearms. Stephen Gutowski, who for several years has been on the gun beat for the Washington Free Beacon, just left to launch his own new reader-supported site. “I believe facts-first journalism and expert analysis is key to helping people better understand the full breadth of guns in America,” he told me about his vision for the site. “That’s the approach I plan to bring to this independent, reader-funded publication. The Reload is for people who want sober, serious firearms reporting and analysis.” One of his first stories for the new site: The NRA’s board has scheduled an emergency meeting for May 1 to discuss development’s in the group’s bankruptcy case.

Data Point

Three per day — the average daily rate of police killings since March 29, the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial. Over half of the 64 people who have died at the hands of law enforcement in that period are Black or Latinx. [The New York Times]