Good morning, Bulletin readers. President Trump’s reversion to NRA talking points on expanding gun background checks seemed to dim the chances of legislative action when Congress returns from summer recess next month. But a Republican senator in the thick of the fight says he’s still cautiously optimistic. Please read on for more updates.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
A GOP senator says President Trump is still “very interested” in background checks. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, the lead Republican sponsor of a universal background check bill, told Politico that he spoke to the president late last week and he’s still on board, despite numerous reports that Trump had dropped the issue at the NRA’s request. Toomey said he believes the bill’s chances of passing “are looking better than they have ever looked at any time” since the bill was first introduced in 2013.
Federal prosecutors in Pennsylvania are seeking the death penalty for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter. But that’s not sitting well with all the survivors, The New York Times reports. Some feel that a drawn-out capital trial with endless appeals would prolong their suffering or provide a platform for the shooter’s anti-Semitic beliefs.
The NRA’s former PR firm has subpoenaed Wayne LaPierre. As part of its ongoing legal battle with the gun group, Ackerman McQueen wants to depose LaPierre along with his assistant Millie Hallow, National Rifle Association spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam, and CFO Craig Spray. LaPierre drew a separate subpoena last week from the New York Department of Financial Services to answer questions about NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program.
Ohio’s Republican governor to announce formal push for background checks, red flag law. At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Mike DeWine is expected to press the GOP-led Legislature hostile to gun reform to expand background checks to private gun sales and adopt a law to disarm individuals who are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Three weeks ago, DeWine rolled out a 17-point gun reform plan in the aftermath of the Dayton shooting.
After a spate of child gun murders in St. Louis, the authorities are offering rewards for information. Police are looking for the killers of Kayden Johnson, 2; Kennedi Powell, 3; Jurnee Thompson, 8; and Eddie Hill, 10, and they’re offering a total of $100,000 — $25,000 per case — for a tip that leads to an arrest. Mayor Lyda Krewson set a deadline of September 1. A dozen children have been killed by gunfire in the Missouri city since April. In the face of rising gun violence, Krewson last week also requested emergency funding for a local Cure Violence program, which has been used to reduce shootings in other cities.
NEW from THE TRACE: 3D-printed gun group moves to Tumblr. Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook all prohibit the sharing of 3D-printed gun plans. But Tumblr has no such policy. One of the most provocative proponents of homemade firearms, Deterrence Dispensed, set up an account on the niche microblogging site, and it’s now using the platform to post weekly updates and share blueprints to print weapons at home. Champe Barton has the update.
A meme-sharing platform is having employees sign NDAs after users threatened mass shootings. After two iFunny users were arrested for threatening gun rampages, the site’s owners asked moderators to sign confidentiality agreements “so we can’t expose them [the site] again,” one of them told BuzzFeed News. The NDA reportedly came after the outlet had reported earlier this month that iFunny had become a haven for white nationalists.
Sutherland Springs pastor is running for state Senate. Frank Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter was among the 26 people killed in the 2017 church massacre. Now he’s looking to unseat the Democrat who’s held the post for 32 years. He said in an interview that he took issue with politicians who he says have politicized the aftermath of mass shootings.
ONE LAST THING
Experts hope a gun storage map can reduce suicides. Physicians at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus teamed up with public health experts and gun rights advocates to create a map of places where people in crisis can temporarily store their guns. The map lists 62 places — mostly law enforcement agencies and gun shops — that will hold firearms for owners. At some of the police precincts, officers might run a background check when they’re returned. Shooting range owner Jacquelyn Clark said joining the network was a “natural next step to be able to be more of a resource to the community.”