Good morning, Bulletin readers. New Zealand’s leaders are promising to change the country’s gun laws days after dozens were slain at two mosques. Leaked chats show that multiple white nationalists are serving in the American military. And the retail industry asks if selling guns makes sense for the bottom line.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Criminal justice expert David Kennedy on the link between police legitimacy and effective investigations. In a Q&A, the director of the National Network for Safe Communities explains a simple concept: “As the public’s perception of police legitimacy goes up, violent crime goes down.” But to be seen as legitimate, authorities must solve crimes. Read Kennedy’s conversation with staff writer Sarah Ryley here.
New Zealand’s prime minister: “There will be changes to our gun laws.” Jacinda Ardern said the government would discuss gun regulation at a meeting today. According to authorities, the gunman legally acquired five weapons used in the attack, including two assault-style rifles. There are approximately 1.2 million civilian-owned guns in the country of 4.8 million. Over the weekend, the death toll from the attack rose to 50.
At least seven members of the U.S. military have been identified as members of a white nationalist group. According to leaked chat logs from an app favored by right-wing extremists, two Marines, two Army ROTC cadets, an Army physician, a member of the Texas National Guard, and a member of the Air Force belong to Identity Europa, an American white supremacy group. Their identities were confirmed by HuffPost; some were already under investigation by their respective branches for suspected extremist ties. An expert on the rise of right-wing extremism told HuffPost that service members who join these groups are particularly dangerous, as they play “an instrumental role in moving weapons, training and tactics from military to civilian spaces.” The news comes weeks after authorities arrested a neo-Nazi Coast Guard lieutenant who had stockpiled weapons and ammo and was plotting a series of attacks.
NRA talking points are popping up in Brazilian politicians’ responses to a school shooting. After two young men shot nearly 30 people at their former school in a suburb of São Paulo last week, members of right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro’s party sounded like National Rifle Association-endorsed Republicans, suggesting that the carnage would have been minimized if school personnel were armed. The American gun group has been involved in firearms issues in Brazil since 2003, when it contributed to an effort to block the Disarmament Statute, which made it difficult for most civilians to buy guns. Rolling back that law was one of Bolsonaro’s first moves after being sworn in.
A New Hampshire 11-year-old has been charged with fatally shooting two adults. Police responded to a call at a home in Alton, a small town at the southern tip of Lake Winnipesaukee, on Friday morning, and found Lizette Eckert, 50, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Her husband James, 48, died of multiple wounds later that day. The couple were well-regarded in the town, and were homeschooling their three children on their family farm, according to members of their church. Because the suspected shooter is a juvenile, few details of the case have been released.
ICYMI: What the Sandy Hook lawsuit could mean for the gun industry. The latest chapter in the extended legal battle could — emphasis on could — puncture the gun industry’s liability shield. Trace contributor Olivia Li has the whole story.
ONE LAST THING
The retail industry wonders: Are guns sporting goods? Last week, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that it would stop selling guns and ammunition in 125 locations nationwide. This Washington Post report details how the change may be part of an industry trend redefining what belongs in general sporting goods stores, like Dick’s. Only 6 percent of rifle buyers went to sporting goods stores to make their purchases last year, according to one study. Dicks’s decision to stop selling guns at some locations was not a political one, its chairman told investors: “We’re just allocating floor space to make our [products] more productive.”