Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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A man watches results come in on a screen set up at an election night gathering in Philadelphia. [AP Photo/Michael Perez]

Daily Bulletin: The Counting Continues. Here’s What We Know.

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WHAT TO KNOW THE DAY AFTER

Big spending from gun reform and gun rights groups. We reported that the National Rifle Association spent $23 million on federal races — less than half of the record-shattering total it directed to Donald Trump and a slate of Republicans in 2016. But it’s still one of the largest political underwriters for the GOP this cycle. Part of the decline comes as the group faces mounting legal bills. For the first time, other gun lobbying groups stepped in to fill that void, including Gun Owners of America, which spent around $800,000 this year. On the gun reform side: Everytown and Giffords spent $20.1 million and $2 million respectively. (Everytown provides grants to The Trace through its nonpolitical arm. Here’s our list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)

How a number of races we were watching turned out. We tracked the results of 17 congressional races — 10 in the Senate and seven in the House — where gun rights or gun reform groups spent six figures or more. We’re keeping tabs on the results as they come in, and here are five U.S. Senate race highlights based on Associated Press projections:

  • Arizona Senate: Martha McSally (R) vs. Mark Kelly (D)
    Status: Kelly wins
    Spending: NRA: $800K
  • Colorado Senate: Cory Gardner (R) vs. John Hickenlooper (D)
    Status: Hickenlooper wins
    Spending: NRA: $800K; Everytown + Giffords: $1.8M
  • Iowa Senate: Joni Ernst (R) vs. Theresa Greenfield (D)
    Status: Ernst wins
    Spending: NRA: $500K; Everytown: $2.5M
  • North Carolina Senate: Thom Tillis (R) vs. Cal Cunningham (D)
    Status: Tills currently ahead
    Spending: NRA: $1.1M; Everytown + Giffords: $4.6M
  • Georgia Senate: David Perdue (R) vs. Jon Ossoff (D)
    Status: Perdue currently ahead
    Spending: NRA: $700K

Overall, the House is set to remain Democratic, while the GOP-controlled Senate remains close as tallying continues.

How some major police reforms fared. Here’s what happened in several high-profile criminal justice issues up for a vote in dozens of cities:

  • Akron, Ohio: Voters approved a ballot initiative to require the public release of recordings from police body and dash cameras in cases that result in death or serious injury.
  • Los Angeles County: An initiative that would require at least 10 percent of the county’s general fund be used for social services like housing, jail diversion, mental health treatment, and other alternatives to incarceration and police is still too early to call. But the measure currently holds a lead.
  • Philadelphia: Voters approved a ballot measure to prohibit the practice of unconstitutional stop-and-frisk.
  • Portland, Oregon: Voters said yes to a ballot measure to create a new police oversight board with subpoena power and the authority to discipline or fire officers in cases of misconduct.
  • San Francisco: Voters said yes to propositions that would remove a mandatory police staffing level from the city’s charter and to establish a sheriff’s department oversight board.

Fears of Election Day drama spread online, but failed to materialize. I spent the day monitoring the online presence of militias and hate groups, both of whom spread misinformation about turmoil at the polls. As BuzzFeed News noted earlier in the day, right-wing influencers, conservative media outlets, and confused voters shared a handful of videos representing what they considered instances of Democratic-led efforts to steal the election. In reality, the videos showed a small number of isolated incidents which were quickly resolved: A Republican poll-watcher refused, and then granted, entry to a polling site; a political sign removed from the wall of a voting location. The videos were also shared in online message boards for groups like far-right Proud Boys, but ultimately led to no action. — Champe Barton, reporter.

But the day wasn’t entirely without incident by polling places. In North Carolina, an armed Trump supporter and former GOP candidate for the state’s House of Representatives was banned from a polling site in Charlotte after “possibly intimidating other voters.” Police said 36-year-old Justin Dunn was charged with trespassing when he returned. In battleground Pennsylvania, a man going to vote accidentally shot himself with a handgun in a car outside a polling place.

While you were watching returns, the FBI charged more bogaloo boys. Federal authorities arrested a West Virginia man, Timothy Watson, 30, charging him with selling devices designed to convert semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons. He allegedly sold them to Boogaloo adherents, including one accused of fatally shooting law enforcement officers in California.