Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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President Donald Trump sits beside NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre at the White House in February. [Michael Reynolds/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images]

Daily Bulletin: How Much Will the NRA Be Able to Spend to Help Re-elect Trump?

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Even as one veteran observer predicts the NRA will be less of a financial force in the 2020 elections, the group’s allies continue to avidly press its legislative agenda at the federal, state, and local level, as today’s roundup illustrates.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The NRA’s money problems mean it may not match its 2016 election spending. That’s according to gun politics expert Robert Spitzer, who told The Guardian he doesn’t think the gun group will be an “important presence” in the 2020 presidential election as the organization faces investigations and allegations of financial impropriety. The National Rifle Association’s election spending was already way down during the 2018 midterms in the aftermath of financial losses posted in the two years prior.

A leading House Republican introduced a bill to allow gun shops to sell to out-of-state customers. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who was shot at a Congressional baseball practice in 2017, joined Republican colleagues last week in introducing legislation to ease restrictions on federal firearm licensees. Under current law, gun sellers can only transfer certain firearms to people who live in the state where their business is registered. The bill would allow licensed dealers to sell guns to out-of-state buyers as long as the sale complies with the laws of both states.

An NRA-backed bill in Louisiana would make it harder for cities to enact gun restrictions. The measure would effectively nullify a New Orleans ban on guns near parade routes by strengthening the state’s pre-emption law to make gun-carrying laws consistent across the state. Pre-emption laws, explained: The NRA has worked to dilute the authority of local lawmakers, making it impossible for cities to enforce their own gun laws in much of the country.

State representative calls for Pittsburgh mayor’s impeachment at pro-gun rally. Representative Daryl Metcalfe announced the proposal yesterday to great fanfare at the annual Second Amendment rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol. Last month, Bill Peduto, the Pittsburgh mayor, signed into law an assault weapons ban and a red flag law.

A man was unintentionally shot inside a Publix supermarket in Florida. He was taken to the hospital on Sunday after a gun fell out of his wife’s purse and fired, hitting him in the leg. Investigators said the woman is a concealed carry permit holder. From the archives: Why gun safety experts say handbags marketed as gun totes put women and their loved ones at risk.

A man killed a woman the day after she got a domestic violence restraining order against him. The 26-year-old Fresno, California, woman was fatally shot Saturday morning by the father of her child, police said. After the shooting, officers chased the suspect down the block, where he took his own life. Context: The period immediately after a temporary restraining order is sought can be especially dangerous for victims. California is one of the handful of states where a gun ban can kick in as soon as a TRO is issued. It’s not clear why the Fresno shooter was armed.

ONE LAST THING

Posing with guns, to avoid shooting them? Social media photos featuring young men menacingly showing off large rifles are common among some gang members on Chicago’s South Side, and police have taken notice. The posts are enough to land someone in law enforcement databases. But according to a new study from a Stanford researcher who spent two years observing gang-associated youth in Chicago, the images may sometimes be an act of self-defense. “Sometimes that gun a young man posts on social media is actually a part of his attempt to not use that gun,” the study’s author said. (Emphasis ours.) “If he can convince everybody at his school, for instance, that he is well armed and well backed by a gang, then maybe he can walk home safer.”