Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

Daily Bulletin: A Michigan High School Is Spending $48 Million to Fortify Against Mass Shooters

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A new scoop details the NRA’s effort to insulate its chief of staff from sexual harassment allegations, which may have played a previously unknown role in the gun group’s ongoing battle with its erstwhile PR firm. 

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: The National Rifle Association shielded a top executive accused of sexual harassment. Over two years, the gun group grappled with two allegations against chief of staff Josh Powell, including a case involving an employee that was settled for an undisclosed amount. In a separate harassment dispute in 2018, Powell’s behavior toward a woman who works for Ackerman McQueen, then the NRA’s marketing firm, may have escalated tensions in their decades-long business relationship. Ackerman said it would “not tolerate” further contact between Powell and its employees — and that the gun group’s reaction fueled the subsequent end of their business partnership. Read on for the whole story, co-published with ProPublica.

A judge set a tentative deposition timeline for Wayne LaPierre. A court hearing in the acrimonious legal dispute between NRA and Ackerman ended with the NRA leader ordered to sit for questioning by Ackerman’s lawyers no later than the week of September 23, the Daily Beast reports. The judge also agreed to limit the access that the NRA’s outside counsel will have to materials Ackerman submits as part of the discovery process. Separatelythe NRA changed the site of its September board meeting from Alaska to the D.C. area. The NRA cited a possible congressional battle over gun reforms next month, according to a note sent to the board that was viewed by The New York Times.

The El Paso shooter told police that he bought his gun and ammo from abroad. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety report obtained by The Texas Tribune, the 21-year-old gunman told police that the WASR-10 he used in the Walmart massacre on August 3 was ordered from Romania and shipped to a dealer near his home in a Dallas suburb. He also said he ordered 1,000 rounds of ammo from Russia. A former agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives noted that foreign imports of assault-style rifles are cheaper than their American counterparts.

Ohio’s Republican governor outlines a technical fix for gun background checks. Under the proposal unveiled by Governor Mike DeWine, court clerks would have 48 hours to upload records to a state-funded data portal when a person is banned from firearms. DeWine’s pitch disappointed Democratic lawmakers, who had hoped he’d push to extend background checks to private sales.

A security guard who unintentionally shot a student during a Colorado school shooting wasn’t meant to be armed. The private security company hired by STEM School Highlands Ranch was supposed to deploy unarmed guards, the Colorado Sun discovered. But a guard who responded to the mass shooting there in May unintentionally fired at a sheriff’s deputy and shot and wounded a student.

Kids exposed to gun violence are more likely to experience extreme emotions. The Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire examined youth exposure to shootings in three communities with high risk of violence. The study found that 58 percent reported being scared or upset as a result of the violence surrounding them.

Washington, D.C., designated 24 shelter areas for students who feel unsafe walking to school. The Safe Spots for Students initiative includes delis, barbershops, and community centers as places kids can go in case of gunfire.

The family of a minor league baseball player was shot to death in Virginia. The wife, son, and mother-in-law of pitcher Blake Bivens, 24, were found shot to death at a home in southern Virginia on Tuesday. After a manhunt, police arrested an 18-year old reported to be the brother of Bivens’s wife and charged him with murder.

A lawsuit seeks to overturn a North Carolina law that prevents restraining orders against same-sex dating partners. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit, which is being heard in the state’s Court of Appeals. Under current law, only opposite-sex couples can obtain orders of protection — which include gun surrenders — against abusive dating partners, The Marshall Project reported.

ONE LAST THING

A Michigan high school is undergoing a $48 million renovation to fortify against mass shooters. Fruitport High School is adding curved hallways to keep people out of the line of sight of gunmen, barriers to provide protection and easy escape, classrooms that can lock on demand, shatterproof glass, and an extensive surveillance system, The Washington Post reported. The architect, Matt Slagle, whose firm also designs prisons, cautions that the fortifications won’t make the school invincible, since most school shooters are students who are already familiar with the campus layout. “Unfortunately, that’s the way things are now,” Slagle said.

[TowerPinkster/The Washington Post]