Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: More than 1,000 victims of the Las Vegas massacre are facing another hurdle: a lawsuit from the company that owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Plus, a change by the Treasury Department will keep the NRA’s biggest donors in the shadows. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Accused Russian agent Maria Butina appeared in court. At the hearing on Tuesday, Butina’s lawyer asked a judge to release her and argued that the Russian national is not a flight risk, noting that she remained in Washington after federal agents searched her home in April. Within minutes, the judge ruled that Butina should be held for at least three more days, until her next court date. Get up to speed on Maria Butina: For profiles of the 29-year-old gun rights activist, read this from the Daily Beast, this from Rolling Stone, and this from the Times. Here’s our updated photo timeline of Butina’s meetings with National Rifle Association leaders and prominent Republican politicians.
The NRA is among the nonprofits no longer required to disclose financial donors to the Internal Revenue Service, due to a change the Treasury Department announced Monday. The change allows donors who contribute “dark money” to political groups like the NRA to remain anonymous. Traditional charities that take tax-exempt funding still have to disclose their financial supporters. Earlier this month, McClatchy DC reported that investigators examining the NRA’s ties to Russia may have accessed the gun group’s tax returns without notifying the group of an investigation.
MGM Resorts International is suing the survivors of the Las Vegas massacre. On Monday, MGM filed federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 mass shooting victims in an effort to shield itself from liability. The company owns the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the site of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. “I’ve never seen a more outrageous thing,” a lawyer representing several of the victims told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
At least two children died in two separate quadruple shootings Monday night. Several men opened fire on a Washington, D.C., crowd, killing a young girl and injuring three adults. The girl had just celebrated her 10th birthday. “All of the hopes and dreams that her family had for her are gone,” a police official said. The same night, in Philadelphia, a 14-year-old boy was killed and three other youths wounded when two shooters opened fire on the boys, one of whom was only 11 years old. “It’s probably related to some neighborhood dispute, as it often is with kids this young,” a police captain said.
More Texas students have been charged with making terroristic threats than in any year since Sandy Hook, an analysis from the Marshall Project found. According to Texas Juvenile Justice Department data, police departments saw a spike in referrals from schools after Parkland. The surge raises concerns for people who believe that schools with a zero-tolerance approach could have unintended consequences for the very students they are trying to protect.
A manhunt in Houston ended with the arrest of a “possible serial killer.” Police said that there were “strong indications” that the 46-year-old suspect was involved in three deadly shootings that left three people dead in four days. Two of those shootings took place in local mattress stores. The man is also a suspect in the nonfatal shooting of a bus driver on Monday and a home invasion robbery earlier this month.
At a candidate forum last week, an Arizona Senate candidate described shooting his mother in self-defense. Bobby Wilson told a group of gun reform advocates that he supported “a good guy there with a gun” over gun restrictions. To bolster his point, he told the story of how he shot and killed his mother in self-defense as a teenager. “You can pass all the laws you want to in this world, and when you’ve got somebody out there that wants to harm somebody, they’re going to do it if you don’t stop them,” Wilson told the audience. Wilson was seated beside his opponent, Representative Daniel Hernandez, who is credited with saving the life of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords when she was shot outside a supermarket in 2011. Hernandez described the forum as “bizarre.”
A pregnant woman was killed and two children injured in a Florida shooting. A 10-month-old and a 13-year-old were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds after a drive-by shooting in Orange County on Sunday killed a 21-year-old expectant mother.
ONE LAST THING
How Maria Butina talked about guns. The accused Russian spy Maria Butina had an easy ice breaker with America’s conservative establishment: her fervent belief in armed self-defense. In a handful of media appearances, she said her mission was to change both Russian gun laws and her countrymen’s attitudes toward firearms. In a new post, Alex Yablon pulls some key quotes from those media appearances. The language about citizens arming themselves may sound familiar — the National Rifle Association has used similar rhetoric for decades.