Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s edition: the latest in our investigation into the NRA’s finances, and the latest drama between the gun group and its longtime image-maker. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: The NRA made unreported donations to a charity helmed by Wayne LaPierre’s wife. In his latest story in our partnership with The New Yorker, Mike Spies probes the National Rifle Association Foundation, which takes in tens of millions of dollars a year. Like all charities, the NRA must disclose details about its grant recipients — but between 2013 and 2017, it failed to do so for an organization called Youth for Tomorrow. Those were also the years during which Wayne LaPierre’s wife Susan served as the president of the charity, which took in more than $125,000 from the NRA during her tenure. According to an expert in nonprofit law, the LaPierres’ connection to the charity might raise an additional line of questioning for New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office is investigating the NRA’s nonprofit status. Read Mike’s full scoop here.
Meanwhile, the NRA’s longtime advertising firm is moving to end its relationship with the gun group. Last week, the NRA filed a second suit against Ackerman McQueen, accusing the firm of being behind an attempt to oust NRA leadership at the group’s annual meeting earlier this month; Ackerman countersued, saying the NRA was just looking for an excuse to cancel their contract. Yesterday, Ackerman announced that it would make that move itself, saying that the relationship between the two entities had already been “constructively terminated” because of the conflict. Among other services, Ackerman produces NRATV, the future of which hangs in the balance.
The Illinois House passed a bill requiring residents to submit their fingerprints when seeking a firearm license. The measure is designed to close the loophole that allowed the gunman who carried out a February workplace shooting in Aurora to legally purchase a gun despite a record of domestic violence. How big is the risk? Brian Freskos reported in April on research showing that background checks without fingerprints may miss more than 10 percent of applicants with disqualifying criminal histories. Prospective nurses, teachers, taxi drivers, real estate brokers, youth sports coaches and millions of other job-seekers are screened through fingerprinting, but there’s no federal requirement to do the same for gun buyers.
Dick’s Sporting Goods rebounds from its decision to stop stocking guns. The nation’s largest sporting goods chain stopped selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines after the Parkland shooting, which cost the company $150 million, in addition to customers who boycotted the store on principle. CEO Ed Stack said the decision was worth it, and earlier this year the chain stopped selling guns altogether in 125 locations. Yesterday the company announced increased projected annual earnings after it had a better-than-expected first quarter.
Gun violence costs the state of South Carolina $1.5 billion per year. That’s according to a new report from the Giffords Law Center, first shared with McClatchy. The state, which has a population of just over five million, records an average of 309 gun homicides and 495 gun suicides each year, in addition to frequent nonfatal gunshot injuries.
A Texas man was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after shooting four others yesterday. The 65-year-old shot three employees of a plumbing business in Cleveland, a city northeast of Houston. Authorities say he fatally shot the secretary of the company, which was in the process of evicting him from a property. He apparently waited for others to arrive at the office, and shot them, too. Their conditions are unclear. When sheriffs deputies pursued him, the shooter returned fire and shot one of them in the neck. The wounded deputy is in stable condition.
ONE LAST THING
The Second Amendment sanctuary movement started off as “tongue in cheek.” At least that’s what the Illinois sheriff who claims he kicked off the trend told Rolling Stone. Now, more than half the state’s counties have declared that their sheriffs departments won’t enforce new state gun laws that they deem to infringe gun rights. Sheriffs in jurisdictions in 12 other states — including North Carolina, Oregon and New Mexico — have done the same. Pro-gun officials say they’re using the same logic as liberal sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce the Trump administration’s strict immigration policies. But authorities in those cities argue that immigration is the federal government’s purview; they are simply not aiding the feds. It’s different, critics say, to refuse to enforce laws passed by your own state’s legislature.