Hello, readers. Are you wondering just what’s up with the National Rifle Association’s claims of its potential demise? So were we. Scroll down for a link to a new post in which we carefully parse the gun group’s contentions, and the more consequential disclosures in its headline-making lawsuit against New York officials.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The gunman in a controversial Florida “stand your ground” shooting has a history of armed road rage. According to records obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, Michael Drejka, the 47-year-old man who fatally shot an unarmed black man over a parking spot in July, only to be shielded from arrest by the state’s “stand your ground” law, brandished a gun in at least two previous road rage incidents. Months before Drejka fatally shot Markeis McGlockton, he reportedly argued with another black man over the same exact parking spot, and threatened to shoot him. Related: Road rage incidents involving firearms are up year-over-year. On this day last year, we published an analysis of the 325 road rage incidents that took place between January and August. In that same period this year, Gun Violence Archive has recorded 403 such incidents.
Facebook is removing blueprints for 3-D printed guns. “In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook,” the company said in a statement Thursday. The designs violate the platform’s ban on gun sales and exchanges by unlicensed dealers, a spokesperson clarified to BuzzFeed News. Amazon has also removed the files from its web servers. After receiving a letter of warning from Amazon Web Services, the coalition of gun-rights groups behind the website CodeIsFreeSpeech.com moved their files to backup servers and were able to get the website up and running again. Although the files are still available, the guns themselves are illegal in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts attorney general announced Thursday that anyone who creates, transfers, or possesses a weapon made with a 3-D printer could be subject to criminal or civil liability under state law.
Chicago will deploy more police to the city’s underserved neighborhoods. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced Tuesday that the department would send hundreds of additional officers to the city’s South and West sides this weekend. Last Thursday, anti-violence protesters demanded Johnson’s resignation for failing to stem gun violence in the city and for his response to the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man last month. The National Guard will stay behind. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner dismissed suggestions that he dispatch the National Guard to the city to help control the violence, saying it’s “not for neighborhood policing.”
The governor of Virginia issued a state of emergency ahead of this weekend’s “Unite the Right” anniversary. The order allows the state to deploy resources, including the Virginia National Guard, to control protests and gatherings on the one-year anniversary of the deadly white nationalist protests in Charlottesville. The governor implored residents to “make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate, should those arise.” Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., organizers are encouraging participants to leave their guns at home. After Charlottesville denied their permit, organizers moved Sunday’s “Unite the Right 2” rally to the nation’s capital, where open carry is banned and licensed concealed carriers can’t bring guns near protests.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas families held a press conference condemning the school district. Several victims’ families spoke to reporters on Thursday about what they regard as the failure of the Broward County School District to keep their children safe. They called for the ousting of the current administration, whom they criticized for failing to complete an internal review of the massacre and implement new security protocols promised for the 2018-2019 school year.
Washington State will vote on gun reform in November. Last week, ballot Initiative 1639 was officially certified for the 2018 General Election. The gun violence prevention measure would raise the age to purchase semiautomatic rifles to 21, strengthen the state’s background system, institute gun safety training requirements for gun owners, and create safe storage standards.
A 10-year-old boy fatally shot his 9-year-old sister in a shopping center parking lot in Tennessee. Police say the girl was sitting in her family’s car on Wednesday night when her brother unintentionally fired a gun, hitting her in the head. She was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A shooting victim’s family is suing Cabela’s. Bryan Galliher, 21, was killed in 2016 by a man with a felony conviction and a “black powder” gun he had purchased from a Cabela’s in Ohio. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges that the gun store is responsible for his death because it failed to conduct a background check. While black powder guns don’t trigger a federal background check because they’re technically replica guns, Ohio law requires one.
A man opened fire while “testing out” an AR-15 in a South Carolina pawn shop. The Idaho man walked into the store on Tuesday and asked to see an AR-15. He then inserted a magazine he had brought with him, and opened fire. No one was hit.
ONE LAST THING
Is the NRA running out of money? What we know (and don’t) about its health as a business. In recent court filings, the nation’s most powerful gun group says it’s “lost tens of millions of dollars” and could be “unable to exist” due to the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and the state’s Department of Financial Services. New York officials have effectively booted the NRA’s lucrative insurance products from the state and have advised firms of the reputational risks of working with the NRA. Because of those warnings, the NRA says, it is having trouble retaining basic banking services and critical umbrella liability coverage.
Those claims have made headlines, with some heralding the announcement as the beginning of the end for the NRA. But it’s not nearly that simple, as Alex Yablon and Mike Spies explain in a new post. They unpack what’s really going on in a new explainer.