Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: Young activists plan to bring the fight for gun reform to the National Rifle Association’s doorstep tomorrow. Meanwhile, a new report shows that their movement has already wrought significant changes to state gun laws. And some of their demands are more popular with Republicans than many narratives about the “gun debate” portray. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
A new poll provides a reminder of the common ground on gun laws. The YouGov survey found that the majority of voters in both major parties support extreme risk protection order laws, which allow gun rights to be suspended when there is documented evidence of a threat. Most Democrats and Republicans also said they oppose allowing people to 3-D print their own weapons. From The Trace archives: Seven current and former NRA members told us about the gun reform measures they would support.
14 states with Republican governors have added gun restrictions since Parkland. The laws are among the 50 new state gun safety laws counted by Stateline. Researchers attribute the momentum to the youth movement against gun violence catalyzed by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
More schools are buying “active shooter” insurance. The policies cover costs for counseling services, crisis management, added security, and litigation. “It gives us some peace of mind that, in the event of a horrible tragedy, we can begin to put things in place,” said one local school district official. Another sign of the times: makers of bulletproof backpacks report brisk sales. The reinforced knapsacks range in price from $175 to $490 and are designed to be used as a shield against incoming gunfire.
President Trump’s tariffs are pinching American gunmakers. During an earnings call on Thursday, Sturm, Ruger & Co. said that material prices have risen alongside demand for American steel. As a result, the company reports that its supply of steel is “tighter” than it would like.
Senator Ron Wyden questioned a top sanctions enforcer about a Russian gun company. Wyden, a member of both the Senate Intelligence and Senate Finance Committees, wants the director of a U.S. Treasury agency to share information about the possible relationship between American arms manufacturers and Russian companies with ties to oligarchs. The Oregon Democrat is also putting the screws to the FEC. On Tuesday, the senator sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission calling on for the agency to “expedite a decision on whether to formally investigate whether Russia used the National Rifle Association to funnel contributions into or provide support in the 2016 U.S. elections.”
A man was arrested near the Capitol after police found guns and ammunition in his car. U.S. Capitol police say they searched the man’s parked car with his consent on Thursday morning. After police found a weapon and ammunition, the man was taken into custody.
At least three police dogs were shot this week. On Wednesday, in Virginia, a K9 named Vader was killed alongside the driver of a stolen car after a shootout between the driver and state troopers. On Monday night, K9 Hemi was also fatally wounded during a confrontation between state troopers and a Tennessee man. And in Arizona that same day, a police dog was sent to the veterinarian with a gunshot wound after being caught in the crossfire between police and a 23-year-old man, who died.
Gun background checks were down for the fourth straight month. On the one hand, the post-Parkland surge that sent checks soaring in March appears to have been a blip. On the other, the 1.8 million checks that the FBI ran last month still made for the second busiest July on record. Background checks are used as a proxy for gun sales, since the government does not keep count of sales themselves.
ONE LAST THING
Tomorrow’s March on the NRA will extend far beyond the gun group’s headquarters. What started as a protest in Fairfax, Virginia, has turned into a nationwide call to action. At noon, students and allies plan to shut down the street in front of the NRA’s headquarters and museum for a rally in support of gun reform, while other young activists gather for demonstrations across the country:
- In Fullerton, California, young people will march from a park to the California Rifle and Pistol Association to call for both gun reform and campaign finance reform. (They chose the location because “it’s essentially the NRA headquarters in California,” one organizer told The Trace.)
- In Chicago, protesters are staging a die-in (a tactic popular with youth gun violence activists) at City Hall.
- In New York City, a coalition of gun reform groups will gather for a march at James Cagney Plaza.
- In Grand Rapids, Michigan, marchers will wear price tags around their wrists to symbolize the amount of money politicians in the state received from the NRA.
- And in Denver, young activists are going ahead with their die-in, rally, and a moment of silence despite threats on social media. “We will not be bullied into fear,” one of the organizers said.
Marches, rallies, and voter registrations are planned in at least 17 other cities, from Las Vegas to Grinnell, Iowa.