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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Senate Democrats Probe Self-Dealing at the NRA

Good morning, Bulletin readers. The NRA faces a fresh round of bad press. We break down the latest developments in your end-of-week wrap-up.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

New scrutiny for the NRA’s lavish executive spending. Ackerman McQueen claims that National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre booked trips costing more than $240,000 without providing it with complete documentation. The allegations were conveyed in the letter from Ackerman to the NRA’s board, delivered by the association’s now-ex president, Oliver North, that sparked a power struggle at last weekend’s annual convention. Another nugget from The Wall Street Journal’s scoop: Sources confirm that $200,000 in wardrobe costs for LaPierre were also paid by Ackerman. Many of the charges were from a men’s clothing boutique in Beverly Hills, California.

Senate Democrats are probing possible self-dealing at the gun group. Per The Washington Post: LaPierre, North, and Ackerman McQueen have until May 16 to “turn over letters, third-party audits, memos and other materials” that may shed further light on improper financial practices at the NRA. The Senate inquiry follows Mike Spies’s investigative reporting documenting extensive shady business arrangements at the organization.

More signs of fissures within the NRA. The NRA signaled that LaPierre enjoyed the unanimous support of the group’s board when he was re-elected to another term in Indianapolis. Not so, implied NRA director and former Republican congressman Allen West in a blog post. “The new slate of officers for the National Rifle Association was decided upon, and nominated by, the NRA Board of Directors nominating committee,” not the board’s entire 76 members, he wrote. Meanwhile, in Newsweek, a Marine Corps veteran and NRA life member laments the group’s “transformation from a sportsman’s organization into a shill for gun manufacturers and a wedge-creator in society.”

San Francisco issues few gun violence restraining orders compared to other California cities. The city has issued just two so far this year, far fewer than cities like San Diego, which issued 57 in all of 2018. One local official said San Francisco still lacks a framework for how police, the local courts, and the city attorney should carry out the state’s so-called red flag law, which was enacted in 2014.

Like the UNC Charlotte shooting, most college gun rampages occur at the end of the school year. The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 2012 Oikos University shooting in Oakland, California, were among the more than 70 percent of mass shootings on American college campuses since 1966 that have occurred as classes wind down, a pair of criminal justice professors wrote at The Conversation: “If authorities better understood these patterns, they may be able to prevent future shootings.”

The governor of Oklahoma signed a bill prohibiting public places like zoos and parks from banning concealed guns. The new measure follows a bill that GOP Governor Kevin Stitt signed in February to eliminate the permit and training requirement to carry concealed weapons. “I think the best defense for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said at the time.

A Louisiana bill would extend its “Stand Your Ground” law to houses of worship. The Republican-sponsored measure was sent to the full House in a party-line vote on Wednesday. Last year, the state’s Republican governor signed a law eliminating an eight-hour training requirement to carry concealed guns in churches.

A woman and her 2-year-old son were shot and killed in St. Louis. Trina A’moir, 18, and her son, Caden, were gunned down in their home on Tuesday. Neighbors said they hid in a closet to try to evade the gunman. Police do not have any suspects. The double murder occurred 48 hours after a couple was found shot to death in a car with an unharmed toddler in the backseat.

A 1-year-old was wounded in a road rage shooting in Houston. After a hearing-impaired man tried to apologize to another motorist for cutting him off in the Texas city on Wednesday, the driver opened fire, wounding the man’s 1-year-old child, police say. The baby is expected to survive.

ONE LAST THING

A viral ad has prompted people to share lockdown drill experiences on social media. #GenerationLockdown was spawned by a new March For Our Lives advertisement that features a young girl schooling adults on the best tactics to employ in an active shooter situation. A high school student in Iowa wrote, “When someone pops a bag of chips open in the cafeteria at school, I should not automatically think it’s a gunshot.” A Virginia teen tweeted, “I wish I wouldn’t have to see the look of fear in my classmates’ eyes when they announce a ‘drill.’ I wish I didn’t have to memorize my friends’ schedules so I know where to find them if it’s real.” A woman in Utah tweeted that after a lockdown drill last year, her 6-year-old said: “The best places to hide are the big cupboards. There’s not enough room for everyone. How do we choose who gets to hide and who has to die?”