Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Department of Homeland Security]

Daily Bulletin: Homeland Security Recognizes White Supremacist Shootings as Terror Threat

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Before its spending scandals spilled into the open, the NRA moved to “retroactively sanitize” multiple sketchy transactions. Plus: The federal government acknowledged the role of guns in far-right violence — but not ways to curb gun access for its perpetrators.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The NRA’s board of directors retroactively authorized spending benefitting executives. Late last year, the organization’s audit committee approved 10 arrangements involving National Rifle Association insiders who “should have been disclosed and approved in advance,” according to meeting minutes obtained by The Wall Street Journal. Many of the transactions had been flagged by NRA accountants, as The Trace has reported. The attorneys general of New York and Washington, D.C., are investigating the documented pattern of self-dealing at the NRA. The Journal spoke with an expert on nonprofit organizations about this latest revelation: “The NRA’s effort to retroactively sanitize these transactions may meet the letter of the law,” said Pace University law professor James Fishman, “but certainly doesn’t meet acceptable governance practices for a tax-exempt organization.

The gun group and its former marketing firm may be headed to trial. The NRA and Ackerman McQueen have been locked in lawsuits over the dissolution of their long business relationship. Both confirmed to Newsweek that settlement talks have broken down.

The Department of Homeland Security’s new framework for combating terrorism addresses the rise of far-right violence. report released Friday states that “domestic terrorists… have caused more deaths in the United States in recent years” than foreign terrorist organizations. The guidance also broadens the definition of terrorism to include “targeted violence,” which it defines as “attacks otherwise lacking a clearly discernible political, ideological, or religious motivation,” and uses the 2017 Las Vegas shooting as an example. The report notes that most perpetrators of such targeted violence use guns. But none of DHS’s recommendations addressed ways to curb gun access.

A coalition of 21 state attorneys general called for background checks for ammunition purchases. The Democratic AGs sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday asking them to take up Jaime’s Law, a bill named for Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg that’s been stalled at the committee level since this spring. The legislation would make it illegal for prohibited gun purchasers to buy ammunition, a provision not included in current federal law.

New Zealand’s prime minister “sensed an interest” when discussing her country’s assault weapons ban and buyback with President Trump. Jacinda Ardern spoke with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Their wide-ranging, 25-minute conversation touched on the sweeping new gun laws New Zealand enacted after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March. “We had a conversation around what had happened in New Zealand, how it worked,” Ardern said. “It was really just sharing our experience, which obviously is pretty unique.” Publicly, Trump has bashed Democratic presidential candidates who support a mandatory buyback of assault-style weapons.

More than 2,200 residents have had their guns seized under Florida’s red flag law. But the use of the extreme risk protection order law enacted after Parkland has varied by location, a Sun Sentinel analysis of state court data revealed. More than half the state’s counties have invoked the law fewer than 11 times. Highlands County, a mostly rural area east of Sarasota, had the highest per capita red flag orders. Broward County, home to Parkland, ranked 13th per capita.

New York ordered 16 online companies to stop selling “ghost gun” kits to residents. State Attorney General Letitia James sent cease-and-desist letters to the retailers, which she didn’t name, reminding them that selling “nearly complete” assault-style rifles that lack serial numbers is a violation of the state’s assault weapons ban.

The governor of Pennsylvania chided state lawmakers for not voting on gun safety bills. In a statement on Monday, Tom Wolf, a Democrat, lamented the fact that none of the measures before the state Legislature — including a red flag law and universal background checks — have moved forward in the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee.

A gun trafficker who advertised on Snapchat was sentenced to eight years in prison. The 23-year old man was convicted for illegally smuggling dozens of guns into California, where he sold them via the social media platform.

An Illinois man fatally shot his toddler son and then himself. The 18-month-old was found dead alongside the suspect at the home of the man’s ex-wife in Joliet on Saturday. The 35-year-old reportedly forced his way inside and committed the murder-suicide during a police standoff. “It’s heartbreaking. Everyone was crying,” a bystander said.

A NYC elementary school teacher plans to go on a hunger strike to end gun violence. Shai Stephenson, who works in the Bronx, says she has been eating one meal a day since September 5, and will move to a liquid diet in October. She’s demanding several changes to federal gun laws, including universal background checks.

DATA POINT

35 percent of small businesses have taken steps — or plan to act soon — to protect themselves against mass shooters, according to a survey of 800 small companies commissioned by the The Wall Street Journal.