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: Trump Backtracks on Background Checks

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Just as he did after Parkland, President Trump has reportedly abandoned a gun reform he floated after the El Paso and Dayton shootings.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

President Trump has pumped the breaks on gun reforms. That’s per the The Atlantic and was echoed by other outlets, which detailed a telephone call Trump had Tuesday with National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre. The president reportedly agreed to sideline the issue of universal background checks, which he appeared to support in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, mass shootings. LaPierre had been pushing Trump to abandon the issue. The president’s apparent reversal is similar to what happened after the Parkland shooting, in which Trump also called for gun reforms. only to later reverse course at the NRA’s behest. In Tuesday’s call, the president was said to instead focus on issues like mental health.

Federal staffers were ordered not to contradict Trump when he blames mass shootings on mental illness. According to a new Washington Post report, a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services issued after the El Paso and Dayton shootings advised communication staffers not to post anything on social media about mental health and mass gun violence without prior approval.

Military veterans urged the Senate to pass universal background checks. In a letter on Monday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a dozen high-ranking vets affiliated with the gun reform group Giffords lobbied for stronger gun laws to combat “homegrown hate and extremism.”

A bipartisan red flag bill is nearly ready in the Senate. That’s according to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who told WBUR Tuesday that he and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham are “working through some of the final language” of a bill that would provide grants to states that adopt laws allowing courts to disarm potentially dangerous people.

NEW from THE TRACE: San Diego shows California how to use its red flag law. For all their popularity and promise, gun violence restraining orders remain relatively untested because many cities don’t use them often. San Diego is an exception, and it has been using the state’s red flag law to full effect. That’s mostly because of City Attorney Mara Elliot. “I have two boys and they were roughly the same ages as the victims who were murdered at Sandy Hook,” Elliott told Alain Stephens. “There was this nagging feeling I needed to do more.” Read that story here.

Three more NRA leaders resigned. Country singer Craig Morgan and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress both resigned from the board of directors this week, bringing the total number of board resignations to six since The Trace revealed self-dealing and lavish spending by NRA insiders. David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the gun group’s lobbying arm, also resigned.

California raised the legal threshold for when officers can use deadly force. A bill signed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom requires that officers only open fire if it would prevent a suspect from injuring or killing the officer or someone else. “The idea that over 100 people — 162 people in 2017 — were killed in police shootings in the state of California is unacceptable,” Newsom said.

Gun sellers on Facebook Marketplace found a way to skirt the platform’s firearms ban. People selling firearms on the site list items like gun cases at inflated prices, which signals to buyers that the item being sold is actually a gun, The Wall Street Journal reported.

ONE LAST THING

More than 40 young children have been killed by guns across the United States this summer. Zion Person, 9, was shot and killed while on his way to get a snow cone in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday night. An 8-year-old was wounded. “It’s disgusting! It’s sad. Children are the people we’re supposed to protect the most,” a witness said. Zion is one of 41 children under 13 to be killed with guns so far this summer, according to an analysis of Gun Violence Archive data. The toll includes Brian Bartlett, 8, who was killed when someone fired dozens of shots into his Kansas City, Missouri, home on August 10.