Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison during a news conference in May. [John Autey/Pioneer Press via AP, Pool]

Daily Bulletin: Security Firm Cancels Plans to Recruit Armed Guards at Minnesota Voting Sites

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NEW FROM THE TRACE

What drove Joe Biden to change his approach to gun policy? “I have never believed that additional gun control or federal registration of guns would reduce crime.” That’s a quote from then-Senator Joe Biden in 1985. Now, with the presidential election just over a week away, Biden is proposing the most aggressive gun reform platform in the Democratic Party’s history. How did he get there? Chip Brownlee has the story.

The NRA has paid nearly $2.5M to a firm tied to shady election practices. On its own, the National Rifle Association’s spending on Stampede America during the 2020 election cycle seems unremarkable: The Florida group pays people to push Republicans and right-leaning gun owners to cast votes. But Stampede America is a close affiliate of Stampede Consulting, a company that has been tied to allegedly illegal poll monitoring practices conducted by the Republican National Committee in Nevada in 2016, and an RNC scheme to dilute Democratic votes in Montana earlier this year. You can read Kevin T. Dugan’s full story here.

WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Minnesota AG: Firm that was recruiting former soldiers to guard polling sites will stay out of state. The Tennessee-based Atlas Aegis came under heavy scrutiny after The Washington Post reported it was actively seeking ex-Special Forces to guard polling places. Attorney General Keith Ellison said he’s now reached a settlement in which Atlas Aegis agreed not to provide any services in Minnesota until 2022 and that it would not engage in any voter intimidation. “I want to make it crystal clear to anyone who is even thinking about intimidating voters that I will not hesitate to enforce the laws against it to the fullest extent,” Ellison said.

The state gun laws that reduce the number and severity of mass shootings. A team of researchers analyzed mass shootings (defined as four or more people killed in a public place) between 1976 and 2018 and found that states requiring permits to purchase guns were 60 percent less likely to have an incident. The federally funded study, which appears in the journal Law and Human Behavior, also found that bans on large-capacity magazines were associated with 38 percent fewer deaths and 77 percent fewer injuries. The findings closely track with the results of a study earlier this year by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Two child fatalities in three days underscore risk of accidental shootings. On Thursday, a 5-year-old girl was killed in her Merced, California, home when another child accidentally shot her. The girl’s father was later arrested on several charges, including child endangerment. On Sunday, a boy in Porter, Texas, died during a birthday celebration after accidentally shooting himself with a gun that allegedly fell out of a family member’s pocket. An estimated 4.6 million American children live in homes where at least one gun is kept unlocked and loaded.

DATA POINT

Three — the number of alleged gun-related death threats levied at sitting or would-be federal officials that came to light last week: 1) A 52-year-old New York man’s threat against a federal judge overseeing a case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn; 2) A 19-year-old’s alleged assassination plot against Joe Biden; 3) and a 42-year-old Maryland man’s letter that targeted both Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.