Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[GENE J. PUSKAR/AP]

Daily Bulletin: Six Months After Pittsburgh, Another Hate-Fueled Synagogue Shooting

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A gunman opened fire in another synagogue on Saturday, killing one congregant and wounding three others. Across the country in Baltimore, one man died and seven others were injured in a shooting at a Sunday evening cookout. Meanwhile, NRA infighting took center stage at its convention. 

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A gunman opened fire at a California synagogue on Saturday, killing one and injuring three. The rabbi of the synagogue in Poway, a city in San Diego County, was among the injured. He said that the shooter’s gun appeared to jam, potentially limiting casualties. A congregant who works as a border patrol agent fired at the gunman’s car as he drove off. The attack came six months after a white supremacist shot 11 people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Reports from police indicate that the 19-year-old gunman in Saturday’s shooting was motivated by the same hateful ideology. He is also being investigated for an arson blaze in March at a nearby mosque. Remembering the victims: Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, was killed in the shooting. She was at the service to say a mourner’s prayer for her recently deceased mother. Witnesses say she jumped in front of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein to shield him from the bullets. The others injured were Almog Peretz, 34, and Noya Dahan, 8.

At a fractious convention, the NRA ousted its president and took steps to shut down discussion of its leaders’ financial improprieties. Late Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported that National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre had told the group’s board that its president, Oliver North, was threatening to release damaging information about him. When the organization’s members gathered at the convention in Indianapolis on Saturday, the tension was palpable, The Trace’s Brian Freskos reported. At the meeting, North’s seat on the stage remained empty as another NRA official read North’s resignation letter aloud. Later, members argued over a resolution to remove LaPierre for the financial mismanagement revealed by The Trace’s investigation earlier this month. After 45 minutes of impassioned debate, they voted to have the board debate the measure behind closed doors. The NRA’s directors will take it up today.

New York state has opened an investigation into the NRA’s tax-exempt status. On Friday, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, sent letters to the NRA and its affiliated entities, including its charitable foundation, instructing them to preserve financial records. Some NRA-related businesses also received subpoenas. Because the NRA is chartered in New York, it falls under her office’s purview.

A man opened fire on two cookouts in Baltimore yesterday, killing at least one. At least seven others were injured. Police believe the shooter was targeting someone at one of the cookouts, which neighbors had set up across the street from each other.

Flint, Michigan, cannot be sued for the death of a man who died by suicide after police returned his gun. Police confiscated Ken Wheeler’s gun following an earlier suicide attempt in 2014 and returned it to him in January 2016. He killed himself with the same weapon four months later. Wheeler’s family says police were negligent in returning the gun. While a Michigan appeals court said police did fail to follow proper guidelines, they remain immune to a lawsuit due to the way the law is written.

A football player was wounded in a shooting hours after he was drafted into the NFL. Corey Ballentine, a cornerback from Washburn University, was shot at a party in Topeka, Kansas, near businesses frequented by students. A college teammate, Dwane Simmons, was killed in the incident. Details of the shooting remain unclear. In a statement, Ballentine’s new team, the New York Giants, said they were “aware of the tragic situation and continue to gather information.”

ONE LAST THING

“Federal inaction or setbacks on issues like guns are seldom a final word.” That’s the takeaway from a New York Times article today tracking the gun violence prevention movement that arose out of the failure of a congressional background check bill following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. “The idea that if Sandy Hook didn’t create an epiphany in this country, what will? … That’s not how politics works,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. “There are almost no epiphany moments in American politics. You have to build your power, and we had none of it.”