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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Divided Voters Agree That Congress Needs to Address Gun Violence

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Research suggests that requiring people to get a license from law enforcement before owning guns could have big public safety benefits. The idea has taken a backseat to expanding standard background checks, but a new poll finds growing support for it. That story leads your end-of-week round-up.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Eighty-two percent of registered voters support gun licensing. That’s according to a new Quinnipiac poll, and it’s a 5 percent increase from May. Ninety-five percent of Democrats support requiring licenses for gun purchases; a majority of GOP voters — 69 percent — do, too. Overall, 72 percent of respondents — 93 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents, and half of Republicans — say Congress must take action to reduce shootings. “In a country gripped by political polarization,” said Quinnipiac poll analyst Mary Snow, “American voters are united in their message to Congress: Do more to reduce gun violence.”

GOP Senators urge the Supreme Court not to be cowed by Democrats on a potentially major gun case. In a letter, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his 52 Republican colleagues accused several Democratic senators of threatening to restructure the court and pack it with liberal justices if it doesn’t dismiss a challenge to a New York City gun regulation. Their missive was a response to an amicus brief filed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and four of his colleagues urging the court to drop the case after the city amended the regulation.

The National Rifle Association could spend as much as $100,000 to move its board meeting next month. The gun group announced earlier this week that it was relocating its next board meeting from Alaska to Washington, D.C., where federal lawmakers may consider several gun safety proposals after they return from their summer recess on September 9. Newsweek reported on Thursday that the NRA’s general counsel and secretary, John Frazer, cautioned in May that such a move could cost upwards of six figures.

Gun reform groups have outspent the NRA since the El Paso and Dayton shootings. Giffords and Everytown for Gun Safety have spent a combined $1.75 million on ads urging GOP senators to pass bills expanding gun background checks and establish a federal red flag law, OpenSecrets reported. In that time, the NRA has spent $94,000 on Facebook ads urging users to join the gun group.

Illinois police have made halting progress in finding residents with revoked gun licenses. The state requires an ID card to possess or purchase a gun, but the Chicago Tribune reported in May that nearly 27,000 residents neglected to tell police whether they’d surrendered their guns after losing their licenses. The police said Wednesday they’ve since brought 256 cases into compliance. Tens of thousands likely remain. The killer of February’s Aurora workplace shooting kept his weapons despite losing his license.

A college student in North Carolina is being held on a $2 million bond after allegedly threatening to shoot his classmates. The 19-year-old reportedly bought a handgun and shotgun last week and had been studying videos about mass shootings, specifically the 2015 Charleston church rampage.

The mayor of St. Louis wants to require concealed carry permits. Lyda Krewson urged the Missouri Legislature to allow the city to mandate permits for carrying a hidden firearm in public, which the state stopped requiring in 2017. At least a dozen children have been killed by guns in the city this year. The GOP governor repeatedly said this week that he won’t convene a special legislative session to consider gun reform.

Ilhan Omar shared a note threatening gun violence against her. The Minnesota congresswoman, who is a frequent target of President Trump and GOP lawmakers, tweeted a note she received that said her “life will end” at the Minnesota State Fair at the hands of “a very capable person with a very big gun.”

Several new laws expanding firearm access are set to take effect in Texas. On September 1, less than a month after the El Paso shooting, new laws will allow guns in houses of worship, school parking lots, and foster homes, and open and concealed carry will be permitted without a license during natural disasters.

ONE LAST THING

Undocumented mass shooting survivors could be eligible for a special residency visa. A so-called U visa was created by Congress in 2000 for crime victims who help law enforcement with a subsequent investigation. Only 10,000 are handed out annually, and the approval process can take several years. But those who secure one can work legally in the United States and are eligible for a green card down the road. So far, a few survivors of the Walmart massacre in El Paso have come forward to apply. At least 70 undocumented survivors of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest festival shooting in Las Vegas have already applied for a U visa, and several have received preliminary approval. Marta, one of at least 120 undocumented workers at the festival, was one of them. “I said to myself, ‘After all the bad things — after this tragedy — something good is going to happen to us,’” she told The Texas Tribune.