Good morning, Bulletin readers. El Paso is a singular, proudly welcoming community. In an essay for The Trace, a journalist who grew up in the city reflects on the strengths and fissures the shooting revealed.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: One city shared by two nations, and a mass shooting that shook us all. Maria Garcia writes about her hometown of El Paso, 10 days after a mass shooter struck there. “El Paso’s warmth is a fundamental tenet that holds up daily life,” she says. “Binationality is not a fact of life here. It is life.” She goes on: “The dehumanizing rhetoric from President Trump and the alleged shooter in El Paso aims to do one thing: to flatten a people. That’s what cruelty does. It crushes the multiplicities that make us human and whole, until we are dust to be swept away.” Read Garcia’s essay here.
NEW from THE TRACE: Texans are more supportive of gun reform that you might think. In their responses to El Paso, Republican lawmakers like Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have rebuffed calls to strengthen gun laws. But their positions do not reflect public opinion, even in gun-friendly Texas. Alex Yablon looks at the numbers.
President Trump is annoyed by media coverage suggesting he’s controlled by the NRA. That’s according to The Daily Beast, which quotes two sources who say they’ve recently spoken to the president. After the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Trump announced his support for expanding background checks and enacting red flaw laws. He did the same after the Parkland shooting, only to later change his mind after meeting with the National Rifle Association. The article offers a prediction: Trump’s desire to counteract the conclusion that he bows to the gun group “may force him to make at least a slightly harder run at background checks this time around, even if only in his messaging and bluster.”
Ivanka Trump is playing pro-reform emissary to Capitol Hill. The president’s daughter has used social media to endorse “common sense, and long-overdue” action on increased screening for gun buyers and measures for disarming owners at risk of violence. During the past week, per Axios, she’s also been calling lawmakers to assess their openness to passing legislation, without spelling out the White House’s position on specific bills.
Another NRA board member has resigned. Professional sport shooter Julie Golob wrote in an open letter to her fellow members that she would still “continue to support the NRA’s programs and sports as a proud benefactor member.” She’s the fourth board member to publicly resign in the last two weeks.
The DOJ announced federal charges against a friend of the Dayton gunman. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio said Monday that the 24-year-old was arrested for not disclosing his drug use (one of 12 factors that can result in someone being banned from owning firearms under federal law) when filling out a gun background check form. The man also bought the Dayton shooter three items used in the August 4 rampage: body armor, the upper receiver that was attached to the AM-15 rifle, and a 100-round drum magazine. The man told federal agents that he kept the weapons at his house because the gunman wanted to hide them from his parents.
The House Oversight Committee wants to know which gun dealers have sold the most crime guns. In a letter to the acting director of the Bueau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireams and Explosives, the committee’s chairman, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, asked for the identities of the five federally licensed dealers who have sold the most guns recovered at crime scenes across the United States over the last five years, as well as ATF inspection reports in which a dealer was cited or penalized.
The Texas man who prompted a debate into the legality of 3D-printed guns will lose his gun rights. Cody Wilson pleaded guilty to “injury to a child” last week, 11 months after he was charged with sexual assault of an underage girl. Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, were the subject of a lawsuit brought by President Barack Obama’s State Department over the distribution of 3D-gun blueprints.
An Ohio man who threatened Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was arrested for illegal gun possession. The Toledo resident told federal authorities he was proud of a Facebook post that said the congresswoman “should be shot.”
The Washington Post printed the names of 1,196 mass shooting victims since 1966. It took up 12 pages of the Sunday edition. More than a third of them were killed in the last seven years.
ONE LAST THING
The ex-girlfriend of the Dayton gunman is haunted by “what ifs.” In an essay published two days after the shooting, which left nine people dead 27 others wounded, Adelia Johnson said the man’s bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorders didn’t scare her at the time, saying, “Some of the sweetest people I know have those conditions.” But there were danger signs: “He told me that twice he held a gun in his mouth ready to pull the trigger. He knew that he shouldn’t have been allowed to own a gun, even though he loved guns.” Johnson separately told the AP that she regrets not telling his parents he needed serious help, even if she didn’t have any indication of what was to come.