Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[AP/Rogelio V. Solis]

Daily Bulletin: The Declining Political Cost of Crossing the NRA

Good morning, Bulletin readers. First it was custom Italian suits and the potential purchase of a Dallas mansion. Now, documents reveal that the NRA has paid for private plane travel for Wayne LaPierre’s family.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The NRA flew relatives of Wayne LaPierre on private jets. The Wall Street Journal has new details about the National Rifle Association leader’s lavish spending, gleaned from travel itineraries, emails, and aviation records. At least seven times since 2016, private jets transporting LaPierre and his wife made detours to Nebraska to pick up or drop off her niece, a low-level NRA employee, at an estimated cost of about $5,000 per trip. One compliance attorney consulted by WSJ said if he were an NRA donor, “I’d certainly be really pissed off.”

The electoral cost of defying the gun group is declining. The New York Times analyzed the letter grades the NRA has given to lawmakers and found the number of F-rated Congress members exceeds those with A ratings for the first time in 10 years. That trend was largely driven by Democrats, whose members saw a 95 percent decline in the number of A’s awarded and a 54 percent increase in the number of F’s. The political wisdom has held that politicians who cross the NRA are punished at the polls. But that notion is debunked by the data, The Times found: “In fact, of the 83 members of Congress downgraded by any amount between 2008 and 2018, only 11 lost re-election. By contrast, 14 of the 31 members who were upgraded lost.”

Researchers found a link between spikes in gun-buying and increased gun injuries. A team from the University of California, Davis, examined gun sales in California during the six weeks that spanned President Barack Obama’s re-election and the Sandy Hook massacre, finding that purchases jumped by 55 percent. Over the following year, gun injuries rose by 290 statewide, with the effect strongest in cities with greater increases in gun sales, indicating that more guns led to more harm.

The Chicago PD is doubling down on its claim that bail reform is driving gun violence. The police superintendent introduced a dashboard which allows the public to see how many adults with gun charges have bonded out pending trial, a frequent gripe of the administration. Critics are crying foul. “Even sex offenders have to be found guilty in a court of law before we put them on a public registry labeling them as sex offenders,” an official at the Public Defender’s Office told the AP. And a local judge calculated that during the first 15 months of a new bail policy in Cook County, fewer than 1 percent of the felony defendants released before trial went on to be charged with a new violent crime.

New York became the 17th state with a red flag law. Under the state’s version of an extreme risk protection order, which went into effect on Saturday, a police officer, district attorney, school administrator, family member, or roommate can ask a judge to seize guns from someone deemed a risk to themselves or others.

Border agents seized 52,000 gun parts in Southern California ports. The $378,225 worth components were sent to an American gun seller and distributor from China, one of the countries with which the United States has an arms embargo. From The Trace archives: Federal officials have been recovering record numbers of machine gun conversion kits at American ports, many of which are sent from China.

A year after a fatal shooting in one of its chapels, the Mormon Church clarified its no-guns policy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints confirmed on Monday that it has tweaked its policy to prohibit all lethal weapons. The policy previously said it was “inappropriate” for parishioners to come to services armed.

A Colorado charter school with a plan to arm teachers was asked to leave the school district. Last week, the Douglas County School District asked the Ascent Classical Academy, about 11 miles from Columbine High School, to leave, which would transfer it to state control.

ONE LAST THING

Amid a spate of child gun deaths in St. Louis, the GOP-led Legislature in Missouri rejects anti-violence proposals. At least 13 kids have been shot to death in the country’s murder capital this year, including two over the weekend. Members of the Legislature’s black caucus are asking the Republican governor to consider a bill that would let Missouri cities enact their own gun laws in an effort to stop the bleeding. “Action must be taken to stem this rise in gun violence in our cities and to help local law enforcement protect our children,” said state Representative Steve Roberts. But the measure is unlikely to gain traction in the Legislature, the Post-Dispatch reports, with influential GOP Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz throwing cold water on the idea. Schatz told the paper that none of his colleagues were likely to support the proposal.