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Daily Bulletin: Senior NRA Exec Sidelined, Court Filings Reveal

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A senior National Rifle Association executive whose checkered record was first uncovered by The Trace has been put on leave, court filings reveal. Your Monday roundup continues below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The NRA has put a top executive on leave. Joshua Powell, the organization’s chief of staff, was placed on leave “pending an investigation by NRA counsel,” according to a January 23 court filing obtained by The Washington Post. Neither the NRA nor Powell replied to the newspaper’s questions about the move. Prior reporting by The Trace revealed that the NRA’s internal accountants had expressed concerns about payments by the group to Powell’s father, a photographer. A fundraising firm used by the NRA hired Powell’s wife, presenting another possible conflict of interest. Additionally, Powell has been the subject of at least two sexual harassment allegations, including a case involving an employee of the NRA’s longtime marketing firm, Ackerman McQueen, that was settled using the gun group’s funds, The Trace uncovered last year.

Gun rights advocates held rallies in several states. More than 500 armed protesters gathered at the New Mexico Capitol in Santa Fe on Friday to protest a red flag bill that the governor has pledged to sign. The NRA sponsored a press conference ahead of the rally featuring New Mexico sheriffs who oppose stronger gun laws. That same day, more than 100 Kentucky gun owners converged to protest a red flag proposal filed in the state Legislature. Participants were armed and dressed in camouflage. More than 90 Kentucky counties have passed so-called Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions in the last six weeks. Also on Friday, a couple of hundred people rallied against a local gun ordinance in Palmer, Alaska.

Ex-Coast Guard officer sentenced to prison in domestic terror plot. Former lieutenant Christopher Hasson stockpiled guns and silencers and was allegedly planning to kill members of Congress and the media to advance his white supremacist cause. Defense attorneys argued that their client was undone by an opioid addiction and never intended to follow through on his plot. But the judge sided with prosecutors’ arguments about the seriousness of the threat Hasson posed, committing him to 13 years in federal prison.

A Pennsylvania judge halted the state’s ghost gun policy. In December, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro directed the State Police to treat unassembled ghost gun kits as firearms and perform background checks on them. A coalition of businesses that make and sell the gun frames sued, and on Friday Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson issued an injunction and said the policy is “unconstitutionally vague.” Shapiro said he will continue to defend the policy in court.

Kansas City official says city gave up on targeted anti-violence strategy. The Missouri city, where murders hit an all-time high last year, adopted the Kansas City No Violence Alliance, a focused deterrence program, in 2013, and saw a reduction in violence. But when homicides increased again, the Kansas City Police Department backed away from the strategy, according to an assessment obtained by The Kansas City Star. “Instead of really steering into the problem and retooling ourselves at that moment, we kind of threw in the towel,” said one of the architects of the program. “We kind of gave up.”

Brooklyn borough president says he’d carry a gun if elected mayor. Eric Adams, a former New York City Transit cop and 2021 mayoral hopeful, said on a recent podcast that he’d ditch his security detail in favor of concealed carry, something he said he already does in church.

Three people were shot, two fatally, at a Florida funeral. The gunfire broke out during a dispute among family members at the service on Saturday in Riviera Beach, about an hour north of Fort Lauderdale. The victims are a 15-year-old boy and a 47-year-old man.

DATA POINT

Law enforcement officials say they are coming across an untraceable, DIY ghost gun at least once a day in Southern California. ABC 7 Eyewitness News