Good morning, Bulletin readers. An analysis of the NRA’s 2018 financial report highlights new details regarding the group’s unsustainable spending and looming debt payments. At the same time, our sweep of state capitols shows that right-wing legislators continue to deliver victories to the group. Those stories and more in your Monday roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The NRA spent more than twice as much on fundraising last year than it did on marksmanship and gun safety training. That’s one nugget in this article from The Washington Post, the latest news organization to investigate the organization’s financial situation. Most of the details in the Post’s reporting come from the 2018 report that the National Rifle Association distributed to members during its annual meeting, which shows that the gun group has taken out a $28 million line of credit, borrowing against its Virginia headquarters. From our archives: Here’s Mike Spies’s original investigation on self-dealing and excessive spending at the NRA.
NEW from THE TRACE: Despite the turmoil at its HQ, the NRA has notched some significant state victories this year. Nine states have passed bills backed by the gun group during their 2019 sessions. Most of the legislation focuses on making it easier to carry guns in public spaces, but the organization’s most significant wins came via measures to arm teachers in Florida and Texas. Several Republican-led states did reject bills the NRA supported. Read Alex Yablon’s roundup here.
Texas’s Republican governor just approved a publicly funded safe gun storage campaign. The $1 million budget was a line item in the $250 billion spending package that Greg Abbott signed into law over the weekend. An NRA spokeswoman told the Texas Tribune that the gun group “didn’t oppose” the funding.
An off-duty police officer fatally shot a man with intellectual disabilities in a California Costco on Friday evening. According to local police, 32-year-old Kenneth French got into some kind of altercation with an off-duty officer as French was holding a small child. The officer then apparently opened fire on French and his parents, both of whom were hospitalized. His mother remains in a coma. The child was unharmed and the Los Angeles Police Department officer, hasn’t yet been publicly identified. According to a relative, French was nonverbal and his condition had declined in recent years. The gunfire sparked panic in the store as shoppers feared an active shooter.
Four people died and at least 22 more were injured in 16 shootings across Philadelphia over the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, a 38-year-old woman died when a gunman fired into a deli in the northern part of the city. Two men were fatally shot in separate shootings between 1 and 2 a.m. on Sunday morning. And one adult was killed at a graduation party where at least five others were injured, including four teens between 15 and 17. Police have not announced arrests in any of the incidents.
Three people have been arrested for two smash-and-grab gun store burglaries in the D.C. metro area. The suspects range in age from 15 to 21 years old. The two robberies occurred early Wednesday and Thursday mornings in Maryland’s Howard and Montgomery counties. During the second incident, another 17-year-old was fatally shot by a responding police officer. Investigators believe at least one more person was involved. So far, at least 17 of the stolen weapons have been recovered.
ONE LAST THING
Four years after the Charleston church shooting, no gun reforms have been implemented in South Carolina. Despite repeated efforts from Democratic state lawmakers, the only gun-related bills that have been signed into law have expanded gun rights in the state. One of the most frequently introduced reform bills seeks to change the default-proceed mechanism, which allows gun sales to move forward even if a background check hasn’t been completed within 72 hours; the policy is now known as the “Charleston loophole,” because it’s how the gunman who opened fire at Emanuel AME was able to get his weapon. Legislators have introduced a measure to close the loophole 19 times. It’s never made it out of committee.