Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Another Poll Finds a Majority of Americans Want Tighter Gun Laws

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The House Judiciary Committee quickly advanced three gun reform bills. The full House will now vote on a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds, incentives for states that pass red flaw laws, and a measure to block people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from obtaining guns. NEW from THE TRACE: The third measure, called the Disarm Hate Act, would be the first new prohibiting factor for gun sales since 1997. Supporters are pitching it as response to mass shootings like those in El Paso and Pittsburgh, which targeted people on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

Trump, White House officials met with GOP leaders over gun policy. Per the The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday’s meetings at the Capitol and White House were the first in Washington since Congress returned from recess. But it’s still not clear when the White House might lay out what President Trump is willing to sign. Without Trump’s go-ahead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated that he won’t move first. “I’m going to wait and assess the proposal that actually could become law,” he said.

Another poll finds a majority of Americans want tighter gun laws. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey found strong support for universal background checks (83%), red flag laws (72%), and a ban on high-capacity magazines (61%). “You’d be hard-pressed to find something where the gap between public sentiment and legislative action or inaction is wider,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the group that conducted the poll. Notable data point: 72% percent of respondents support mandatory gun licensing. The policy is backed by compelling research. But it’s not among the ideas Congress is now actively considering.

New Jersey will stop doing business with gun makers and vendors that fail to embrace the state’s gun safety standards. Under an executive order signed by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday, the state will stop buying law enforcement guns from companies that don’t “prevent, detect, and screen for the transfer of firearms to straw purchasers or firearm traffickers” and “protect against the theft of firearms and ammunition.” The order further directs the state Treasury Department to cut ties with financial institutions that fail to adopt “principles related to gun safety or responsible sales of firearms.” The action would also prohibit the sale and marketing of insurance products that “encourage the improper use of firearms” — a nod to Carry Guard, the National Rifle Association’s self-defense shooting insurance. Last week, New Jersey regulators fined the insurer Lockton Affinity $1 million for its role in administering the program.

Two more retailers asked customers to stop openly carrying guns in their stores. ALDI and Meijer join Albertsons, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart, and Wegmans. CVS recently asked customers to not carry guns at all. Retailers could ban guns outright if they wanted to, legal experts told The New York Timesbut many are instead requesting that shoppers refrain from carrying guns as a way to take a stand while striking a middle ground.

The Republican mayor of Fort Worth adds to a chorus of Texas officials calling for gun reform. Betsy Price joined a gathering of mayors and police officials on Capitol Hill advocating for background checks and red flag laws, echoing Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s break with the NRA last week.

Meanwhile, Fort Worth police say they averted a mass shooting. Police in Texas say a 27-year-old man with mental health issues who said he was inspired by the Odessa shooting tried to buy a gun in a private sale after failing several background checks. The suspect told police he wanted to “kill as many” people as he could. His father tipped off authorities.

The NRA hired a former video game executive to helm its lobbying arm. Wade Callender will replace David Lehman as deputy executive director and top lawyer for the Institute for Legislative Action. A source told CNN that some NRA staffers are baffled by the optics of hiring a man with no political experience, especially after NRA leadership has blamed mass shootings on violent video games.

California lawmakers expanded the state’s red flag law. The bill sent to Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday adds co-workers to the people who can petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from owners deemed a danger to themselves or others. Currently only police officers, family members, and roommates can do so. Newsom’s Democratic predecessor twice vetoed the change.

A Texas county unveiled a new temporary gun surrender program. Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, launched six gun safety initiatives, including a program allowing residents to turn in guns for safekeeping or disposal. The other measures include active shooter threat assessment for police and educators, distribution of gun locks, and prohibitions for people arrested for domestic violence.

ONE LAST THING

The 14 seconds that may determine Trump’s gun control position. Sources close to President Trump tell The Washington Post that he is hesitant to embrace the gun restrictions and reforms being discussed on Capitol Hill because of a rousing ovation he received at a campaign rally in New Hampshire last month. After Trump told the crowd he would “always uphold the Second Amendment,” the audience responded with rapturous applause that went on for nearly a quarter of a minute, a reminder that Trump’s base and gun absolutists appear to overlap considerably. An unidentified senior administration said, “His base is loyal to him and won’t vote against him, but there could be some dealbreakers that cause them to stay home altogether.”