Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: The Cities Grappling With August Outbreaks of Gun Violence

Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: In a fiery court filing unearthed by The Trace’s Alex Yablon and Mike Spies, a once-loyal National Rifle Association partner says the group brought its business woes on itself with its radioactive messaging. Amid the self-reported threats to its bottom line, the NRA just dropped a seven-figure ad campaign in support of Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. That news and more in today’s briefing.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: The broker behind the NRA’s Carry Guard self-defense insurance says the gun group has only itself to blame for attracting heat from regulators. The NRA’s headline-making claims that actions by New York officials threaten its very existence are filled with caveats. But here’s one measure of its present isolation: In a legal filing entered earlier this summer, reported here for the first time, Lockton Companies, a long-term partner of the NRA, argues that the NRA’s “overtly political and inflammatory approach” to marketing and its “provocative public stances” made it an inevitable target for a clamp-down.

Meanwhile, the gun group spent seven figures on a new ad campaign in support of Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. On Tuesday, the NRA announced a series of national and regional spots touting the Second Amendment credentials of federal Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who could provide the vote that leads to the Supreme Court taking more gun rights cases, and viewing gun rights claims more favorably. The NRA says the campaign targets voters in red states where Democrats are defending Senate seats this November, including Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia.

The NRA says its child gun safety program had a record month. The gun group says it shipped 250,000 “Eddie Eagle” workbooks to U.S. law enforcement agencies and schools in July, more than in any single month in the program’s 30-year history. Why claims of “Eddie Eagle’s” benefits should not fly: Last year, the Government Accountability Office found that the NRA’s approach to child gun safety was largely ineffective at steering kids away from unattended guns. In 2016, the academic who revamped the program told The Trace’s Mike Spies that she never would have taken the assignment if she knew the NRA was marketing the program as superior to safe storage laws.

Several cities are grappling with a seasonal surge in gun violence. Chicago isn’t the only city experiencing a violent August: Six people were killed and 22 others were wounded by gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri, during the first four days of the month. As in Chicago, the spasm of violence has local officials wringing their hands. Mayor Sly James said at a press conference on Monday that pleading with state lawmakers to pass stronger gun laws has goten him nowhere. “There’s this mantra of Second Amendment above all else, free guns for everybody,” he said. “We have to change that. I can’t change it alone.” Meanwhile, in Buffalo, New York, shootings and homicides are on par with last year’s toll, but this summer’s violence “has been brazen, with multiple people being shot at the same time, sometimes in the middle of the day,” the Buffalo News reports. Gun fatalities through July 31 include a 17-month-old toddler killed alongside his grandmother on a front porch, and a mother of five fatally shot in front of her three young children as they sat in a car.

Police in Chicago are prescribing therapy to reduce gun violence. For the last two years, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, which runs one of the country’s biggest jails, has been teaching cognitive behavioral therapy to the city’s inmates in an effort to get them to stop and think in stressful situations before things escalate to gunfire. Sheriff Tom Dart told USA Today that he has two measures of success: If an inmate “didn’t shoot anybody and wasn’t shot by anybody” after his release. Another Chicago program that utilizes the therapy is Becoming a Man, a youth mentoring program credited with a reduction in crime among its participants, which we wrote about in 2016.

A Georgia school board voted to put a rifle in every middle and high school in the county. Motivated by the Parkland massacre, the Fayette County Board of Education unanimously approved the plan. The guns will stay in safes in locked offices that are monitored by cameras and alarms. Before now, school resource officers kept long guns in the trunk of their cars, but having the weapons more easily accessible is “just another layer of protection,” a school spokesperson said.

If you’re a licensed medical marijuana patient in Oklahoma, you can’t own guns. So says the state’s Bureau of Investigation, which modified its handgun license application to include a question about the use of controlled substances six weeks after voters there approved a medical marijuana program. Federal law prohibits gun owners from using illicit drugs.

ONE LAST THING

A grieving Cleveland mother wants adults in her city to be held responsible when their kids commit crimes. On June 20, Saniyah Nicholson, 9, was sitting in her mother’s car when she was killed by a stray bullet unleashed during a gunfight among teenagers. Seven weeks later, her mother is gearing up to introduce “Saniyah’s Law,” which would subject adults to prison time and fines if their kids commit crimes, at the next City Council meeting. “Parents are not parenting their children,” Marshawnette Daniels told the local ABC affiliate. “Their children commit murder? Well, they should go to jail.”