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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Poll Finds Growing Republican Support for Limiting Ammunition Capacity

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Recent polling shows a slim majority of Republicans now supporting a policy that experts say could limit casualties in mass shootings as well as community gun violence. Below, we dig into the numbers.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The percentage of Americans who favor stricter gun laws is rising. A Pew poll conducted a month after the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, shootings found that 60 percent of Americans say the United States should have tighter gun laws, up three percentage points from October 2018 and eight points from March 2017. Support remains split along partisan lines: Only 31 percent of Republicans back tougher gun laws, compared to 86 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. But appetite for one aggressive restriction is growing among Americans who align with the GOP: Republican support for banning high-capacity ammunition magazines has increased seven percentage points since 2017, rising to 54 percent.

A bipartisan group of Missouri mayors are collaborating on a violent crime reduction agenda. The Democratic mayors of Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis and the Republican mayor of Springfield met Friday, declaring the rising toll of gun violence in the state a public health epidemic. One local news outlet reports that Republican Governor Mike Parson, who attended the session, indicated that solutions could include new gun safety legislation that balances gun rights concerns.

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor is convening a special legislative session to press the state GOP on gun reforms. Tony Evers has been unable to pass a red flag law and a universal background check requirement in the face of opposition from the Republican-controlled Legislature, despite polls indicating widespread public support for the changes. While Evers can’t advance the measures without Republican votes, he hopes next month’s session can build political momentum and suggested he would call repeated sessions until his GOP colleagues capitulate. “How many times can you go against 80 percent of the people of the state of Wisconsin … and expect to be re-elected?” he asked.

Gun rights activists float ‘citizen’s arrest’ of Washington State’s attorney general over new gun laws. At a recent meeting in Thurston County, about three dozen pro-gun advocates — many of them wearing the insignia of the anti-government Three Percenter militia — denounced a raft of reforms that took effect in July, including measures that expand background checks and raise the minimum age to buy a gun. “I want to see him go to prison for treason,” the meeting’s organizer said about the state’s attorney general. The Thurston County sheriff, who also opposes many of the new gun laws, urged the activists and militia members not to take matters into their own hands.

A gun store sued a serial killer and his straw purchaser. In the last year, three families of victims of South Carolina serial killer Todd Kohlhepp have sued Academy Sports, the gun store that sold guns to Kohlhepps friend in a straw purchase. Late last month, the gun shop sued Kohlhepp and his straw purchaser for damages. Kohlhepp was barred from owning guns because of a 1987 rape conviction.

A Pennsylvania city secured a $360K federal grant to fund gun violence prevention. The city of York announced a partnership that will work to analyze data and work to mitigate violent crime in the city of some 40,000, which has seen at least 10 homicides and 42 shootings this year, according to police.

DATA POINT

In 16 percent of the threats of domestic terror against Bureau of Land Management Employees over a four-year span, investigators cited a convicted person in possession of a firearm.” [Government Accountability Office]