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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Senators say President Trump could be close to a decision on gun package. Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Joe Manchin had a 40-minute call with the president on Wednesday in which they made their case for expanding gun background checks. Trump was “very engaged, personally asking thoughtful questions, asking reasonable questions,” Toomey said, but added that the president did not make any specific commitments on any bill. “I’m still less than 50/50 [on whether the president will support expanded background checks] because I know the president has a lot of people calling the opposite direction from us,” Murphy told reporters later. Trump reportedly will receive a briefing from White House staff today on his options, and suggested to the three senators that he could make a decision before the weekend. NEW from THE TRACE: Our all-in-one primer on the federal gun background check system — and the loopholes new laws might close.
145 corporate leaders press for Senate action. In a joint letter, leaders from companies including Yelp, Twitter, Gap, Levi Strauss, and Pinterest urged the passage of bills extending background checks to cover all gun sales and federal incentives for state red flag laws allowing courts to disarm individuals deemed a threat. “Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable,” they wrote. New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin has a smart analysis of the companies that signed on, or didn’t, and why. Related: Publix became the latest retailer to ask customers to stop openly carrying guns in its stores, joining ALDI, Meijer, Albertsons, Kroger, Walgreens, Walmart, and Wegmans.
A new study examined the outcomes of mass shootings by gunmen seeking infamy. In the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior, two criminal justice researchers examined more than 300 rampage gunmen since 1966 and identified 45 who expressly sought notoriety before they opened fire. Among those, 96 percent were mentioned at least once in The New York Times, compared to about 74 percent of their non-fame-seeking counterparts. Notoriety-seekers also incurred higher victim counts; tended to be young, white students; and often had mental illness and suicidal ideations. To our colleagues in the media: We’re convening a working group to set ethical standards for mass shooting coverage. Join us here.
Another NRA vendor is suing the gun group. Under Wild Skies Inc. launched the legal action in circuit court in Fairfax, Virginia, on Wednesday, saying it is owed $17.1 million for breach of contract. The production company alleged that top National Rifle Association officials, including Wayne LaPierre and his wife, were treated to several free hunting safaris in Africa and South America. Tony Makris, the host of the Under Wild Skies hunting show, is also a top executive at Ackerman McQueen, the NRA’s erstwhile marketing firm, with which it is engaged in an ongoing legal fight.
One of the White House advisers who may influence Trump’s position on guns is a former gun lobbyist. Sources told the Daily Beast that aide Michael B. Williams has played a big role on gun policy in the administration and used to lobby lawmakers to loosen regulations on silencers for the American Suppressor Association. He also was once a law clerk at the NRA.
Gun policy is the top debate issue for Democratic voters, a new poll found. Seventy-three percent of Democrats said it was “very important” for the candidates to discuss gun reform during tonight’s face-off in Houston, an 11 percentage point increase from the first debates in June, according to a survey from Morning Consult.
States with high gun ownership rates and relaxed gun laws have the nation’s highest suicide rates. An analysis of 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by the left-leaning Violence Policy Center found that Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, New Mexico, and Idaho have the highest suicide rates. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, where gun laws are much stricter, have the lowest.
ONE LAST THING
A survivor of a mass shooting still has over 300 shotgun pellets in her body — and they’re poisoning her. Carolyn Tuft was one of nine people shot at Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City in 2007, five of whom died — including Tuft’s 15-year-old daughter. Doctors said trying to remove all the pellets could be fatal, so they remain in her body. “I feel them, and they hurt,” she told “Inside Edition.” They’re also giving her lead poisoning. “Now it’s affecting my memory, my cognitive abilities,” she said. Tuft used to be an avid cyclist and runner, but now she has trouble getting dressed in the morning. “For many like my friend Carolyn, it’s a life sentence of pain,” her friend told KUTV.