Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. [Joe Loong/Flickr]

Daily Bulletin: More Bad News For the NRA

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Facing a deepening financial crisis, the National Rifle Association laid off at least 200 staffers this year. That’s according to The Guardian, which reported that the cuts have mainly affected employees at the gun group’s Virginia headquarters. “The widespread Covid layoffs and furloughs have further harmed both the NRA’s legal capacity and political influence beyond what was already a troubling deterioration,” an anonymous staffer told the outlet. In April, Politico reported that more than 60 employees had lost their jobs since pandemic started, and that CEO Wayne LaPierre had announced 20 percent, across-the-board pay cuts and shortened work weeks. While the group has attributed the measures to the pandemic, experts told The Trace’s Will Van Sant in April that the crisis is largely of the NRA’s own making.

The discount chains that have become magnets for gun violence. In May, a security guard at a Dollar General in Michigan was fatally shot after denying entry to a woman whose daughter was not wearing a face mask. It was one of more than 200 violent incidents involving guns (nearly 50 of them fatal) at Family Dollar or Dollar General stores across the country since 2017, according to Gun Violence Archive. In a new investigation, ProPublica and The New Yorker provide some reasons why: The stores are ubiquitous, with a combined 24,000 locations, and they’re located primarily in areas with high rates of crime. “The glowing signs of the discount chains have become indicators of neglect, markers of a geography of the places that the country has written off,” the story reads.

Seattle’s “autonomous zone” hit with another shooting. On Monday morning, a 16-year-old  was killed and a 14-year-old boy was critically injured in the city’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest area, or CHOP, which has been occupied by protestors since earlier this month. Police said they received calls at around 3 a.m. of multiple people firing at a Jeep. The victims, both of whom are Black, were brought to the hospital by volunteer medics. It was the fourth shooting in or near the CHOP in the last nine days. City leaders have pledged to phase down nighttime activity at the site and have police return to the abandoned East Precinct.

The case for keeping summer jobs programs. Facing budgetary shortfalls, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio canceled the Summer Youth Employment Program, which provides jobs to 75,000 city residents between the ages of 14 and 24. In a New York Times op-ed, economists Sara Heller and Judd Kessler argue that, in addition to providing needed wages, such programs make communities safer. According to the authors’ own research, participants in the program are less likely to be incarcerated and have lower mortality rates. They point to similar results in Chicago and Boston, where summer program participants were less likely to be arrested for violent crimes. Chicago’s own program will return at two-thirds capacity this year, while Boston has actually increased the size of its initiative. After criticism, De Blasio has left open the possibility that the city’s jobs program could still find funding as the city closes its budget this week.

An anti-violence group in Chicago is awarding grants to quell July 4 gun violence. The “Hit The Hood” initiative launched by My Block My Hood My City will disperse $50,000 to people or organizations working to prevent gun violence over the holiday weekend, which historically sees elevated rates of shootings. In addition to the grants, which will max out at $5,000 per applicant, the group is hosting a peace march and “positive festivities” in several Chicago neighborhoods. Monday’s announcement follows a weekend in which 63 people were shot in the city, 16 of them fatally, including a 10-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy.

Remington is preparing to file for bankruptcy — again. It would be the gunmaker’s second Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in as many years. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Navajo Nation is in talks to buy the company, which is embroiled in a lawsuit in Connecticut with Sandy Hook victims’ families that is set to go to trial next year. Guns.com points out one potential benefit for Remington should the sale go through: With sovereign nation status, “the tribe is largely insulated against personal injury claims, which have to be filed in the Nation’s own courts.”

Colorado Supreme Court upholds large-capacity magazine ban. The National Association for Gun Rights and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners challenged the 2013 law prohibiting ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. The justices unanimously ruled that the measure does not infringe on residents’ right to bear arms.

DATA POINT

There have been at least 87 mass shootings in June, shattering a single-month record set in May, when there were 60. — Gun Violence Archive