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News and notes on guns in America

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[Bloomberg / Contributor]

Daily Bulletin: Fox News Poll Finds Record Disapproval of the NRA

Good morning, Bulletin readers. The NRA’s image is underwater with voters and slipping with gun owners. But President Trump, the key factor in Congress’s expected upcoming debate on new gun laws, continues to feel the squeeze from the gun rights side. We dive into the numbers in your end-of-week roundup.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A Fox News poll shows unprecedented disapproval of the NRA. Just 42 percent of the voters surveyed hold a positive view of the gun group, the first time the National isle Association has had a net-negative approval rating in a Fox News poll. The NRA’s approval rating in gun-owning households tumbled 11 percentage points, falling to 56 percent. The survey was conducted in the wake of both the El Paso and Dayton shootings and the revelations of self-dealing and lavish spending by NRA insiders. 

Second Amendment advocates sound the alarm on Trump’s embrace of red flag laws. CBS News reports that several gun rights advocates and politicians are warning that the move would cost the president with voters. The New York Times adds that Trump’s team has commissioned a poll to see where his supporters stand on a range of gun reform measures, while The Wall Street Journal relays that Trump finds himself cross-pressured even within his own family: His children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, are at odds over whether he should endorse new gun safety laws.

The CEO of Walmart urged a debate about a new federal ban on assault-style rifles. In a statement accompanying the retailer’s second-quarter earnings, Doug McMillon urged assessment of the law’s “effectiveness in keeping weapons made for war out of the hands of mass murderers.” He also noted that the company’s gun policies are more restrictive than the federal government’s: Walmart doesn’t sell military-style rifles, only sells handguns in Alaska, and doesn’t allow “default proceed” sales while background checks are still pending.

House Democrats want a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In a letter on Wednesday, the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force requested a sit-down to discuss the universal background check bill they sent to the Senate in February. They quoted shooting stats from the GOP senator’s home state of Kentucky to make their case. This weekend, the gun violence prevention groups Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action will hold rallies in all 50 states to try to keep the heat on lawmakers. (Everytown’s nonpolitical arm makes grants to The Trace. Here’s our full list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)

The shooting that injured six Philly cops has sparked dueling political responses. The city’s Democratic mayor called for tougher state and federal gun laws, saying his officers “need help.” He also decried Pennsylvania’s pre-emption statute, which ties the hands of local governments seeking their own gun restrictions. The U.S. Attorney for Philadelphia pushed hard from the other direction. In a remarkable attack, Trump appointee William McSwain said the “stunning disrespect for law enforcement” fostered by the criminal justice reforms of DA Larry Krasner precipitated the Wednesday shooting. Krasner’s response: “I’m surprised that William McSwain would seek to detract from the great collaborative work of law enforcement last night.”

The Dayton gunman had drugs in his system when he carried out his rampage, including cocaine, alcohol, and antidepressants, the local coroner said Thursday. Police said the 24-year-old was obsessed with mass shootings, but are divided on whether he targeted his sibling, who was among the nine people killed in the attack.

More than 8,000 people from Juárez and El Paso paid tribute to shooting victims. “Hate will never overcome who we are,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said at the Wednesday ceremony, which officials from both sides of the border attended. Earlier this week on The Trace, WBUR’s Maria Garcia wrote that in her hometown of El Paso, “binationality is not a fact of life here. It is life.”

The Poway synagogue shooter got his AR-15 with an invalid hunting license. The California Fish and Wildlife Department said the suspect, an anti-Semite and white supremacist who killed one person and wounded three others in April, had been issued a one-year hunting license that didn’t take effect until July. A hunting license is the only way someone under 21 can legally procure a firearm in California.

A “ghost gun” was used to shoot three cops in California. A convicted felon in California killed a police officer and wounded two others on Monday with an untraceable AR-15 assembled with parts usually purchased online. About a third of guns seized in California lack serial numbers, which hinders police investigations, Alain Stephens reported in May.

ONE LAST THING

Teachers and students are writing wills in case they’re killed in a school shooting. In Teen Vogue’s feature on the phenomenon, a psychotherapist lamented the burden placed on the lockdown generation: “Instead of tackling the issue of gun control, white supremacy, and toxic masculinity, we are expecting minors to share in the responsibility of finding solutions to address gun violence.”