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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: The NRA Spent Record $$$ on D.C. Lobbying, With Little to Show For It

Good morning, Bulletin readers. The NRA spent a record sum on federal lobbying over the last two years, but didn’t get much bang for its buck. A North Carolina gun maker was raided by ICE. And Tennessee lawmakers are re-upping a bill that would penalize adults when kids get ahold of guns.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The NRA spent a record sum on D.C. lobbying during the first two years of the Trump era, but has few legislative victories to show for it. The group spent $9.6 million trying to persuade Congress to advance its agenda in 2017 and 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, but none of the bills at the top of its wish list — like national concealed carry reciprocity or silencer deregulation — were signed into law. One bet did pay off, however: The National Rifle Association spent $2.1 million supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which resulted in a 5-4 conservative majority that might be poised to expand gun rights.

A North Carolina gun maker that specializes in AR-15s was raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. About 30 employees of Bear Creek Arsenal in Sanford were detained after agents checked for valid IDs during a targeted raid on Tuesday morning. The company said that the Department of Homeland Security “confirmed” that it had “complied with all laws.”

Democratic lawmakers in New York, fresh from recent gun reform victories, are pushing a measure that would ban gun raffles. The bill states, “Firearm-related violence is a significant public health and safety problem and weapons should not be given away in games of chance.” Shortly after the Parkland shooting last February, a volunteer fire department in the town of Kent canceled plans to raffle off an AR-15, offering gift certificates to a local gun shop instead, and a Brooklyn restaurant canceled an NRA gun raffle amid an outcry.

Starting this month, some gun possession cases in Washington, D.C., will be routed to federal court. Only a quarter of the 350 standalone felon-in-possession cases brought in the District last year were charged as federal crimes. Prosecutors’ eventual goal is to route every gun possession case involving a convicted felon to the federal system, where sentences are stiffer. Will it work? St. Louis has more federal gun prosecutions than any other jurisdiction — and the nation’s highest murder rate. Here’s our deep dive on the limits of throwing the book at illegal gun carriers without addressing other drivers of gun violence.

Trauma physicians in Baltimore found themselves treating a gunshot victim from their own hospital. On Monday morning, a 24-year-old employee of the University of Maryland Medical Center was shot and wounded near an ambulance bay. Dr. Thomas Scalea, head of the hospital’s Shock Trauma Center, told reporters, “I’ve done way too many of these things with you guys. This one is as close to home as it has ever been.”

ONE LAST THING

Tennessee lawmakers are re-upping a bill that would penalize gun owners who fail to secure guns around kids. State Senator Sara Kyle has reintroduced “MaKayla’s law,” which would authorize police to charge an adult with felony reckless endangerment if a child under 13 uses an unsecured gun to to kill or injure another child. The law is named for MaKayla Dyer, an 8-year-old Tennessee girl who fatally shot by an 11-year-old neighbor wielding his father’s shotgun in 2015. As Mike Spies reported, the NRA flew in a lobbyist from its Virginia headquarters to quash the legislation the following year. MaKayla’s mother, who’d lobbied for the bill, was bewildered by the gun group’s opposition. “I was feeling real hopeful,” she told Mike. “I never thought there were people out there who would fight the bill. I’d never even heard of the NRA.”