Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s roundup: Mike Spies catches wind of a shakeup in the National Rifle Association’s executive ranks as the group pursues cost cuts. Alex Yablon flags court documents showing that a retailer’s age limits for gun shoppers withstood a court challenge. And I’ve got the sweep of other news of note.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: The NRA official who has been presiding over budget cuts within the organization has been removed from his post. Josh Powell, the gun group’s executive director of general operations, was “promoted” to a senior strategy role, according to an internal email obtained by The Trace’s Mike Spies. Prior to joining the NRA in 2016, Powell’s career had been marked by business failures and defaulted debts, as Mike and special correspondent John Cook laid out in an investigation this fall. His reassignment comes less than a week after Mike and John reported that the NRA reimbursed Powell for more than $100,000 in personal expenses last year even as it ran a second consecutive eight-figure deficit. Separate reporting by The Wall Street Journal showed that Powell extended the contract of a fund-raising consultant who had recently hired Powell’s wife, part of a pattern of lucrative deals to firms with ties to NRA insiders. Read more about this latest development.
A lawsuit challenging Dick’s Sporting Goods’ age limit for gun purchases has fizzled. Tyler Watson, 20, sued the Dick’s for age discrimination in March after he was denied a gun sale at the retailer, which raised the minimum gun-buying age to 21 following the Parkland massacre. According to state court records, Watson and Dick’s reached a settlement (the terms of which were not revealed), prompting the judge to dismiss the case. Alex Yablon has the story.
Meanwhile, Dick’s may get out of the hunting business. CEO Edward Stack said the company has already removed all hunting gear from 10 of its stores, and that the response so far has been positive. The announcement comes after executives reported a sales dip following its post-Parkland decision to stop selling assault-style rifles and to raise the minimum gun-buying age in its stores.
Five weeks after a shooting that killed 11 people, Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue marked the start of Hanukkah. About 500 people gathered at the synagogue in the city’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood on Saturday night to mark the start of the eight-day holiday. “We are practicing our Jewish faith publicly and proudly,” said Stephen Cohen, co-president of New Light, one of the congregations that share the space.
A new Florida official vowed to audit the state’s troubled gun licensing program. Nikki Fried, the incoming agriculture commissioner, appeared on local Sunday news shows and said she’s already spoken with agency employees about ways to rectify lapses in the background check review process. Her remarks come as the NRA’s powerful Florida lobbyist wants the agency moved under the purview of a more NRA-friendly official.
An Arizona city will decide whether to join the nascent movement to pressure the gun industry through the power of the municipal purse. The Tucson City Council will consider a proposal today that would compel gun dealers to fill out a six-question survey in order to get lucrative city contracts. In October, the mayor of Toledo, Ohio, said his city — which spends $150,000 a year on police guns — will purchase firearms and ammunition only from “responsible” gun companies.
A high school in Southern California staged an active shooter drill to arrest four students suspected of off-campus crimes. Officials at Montgomery High School in San Diego carried out the ruse on Halloween, a local outlet reports. A drill was originally scheduled for mid-November but moved up at the request of police. A juvenile justice advocate argued that the students should have been arrested at home.
A man in Arizona was mistaken for a burglar and shot after trying to enter the wrong apartment. Police said the man was extremely intoxicated when he tried to enter his neighbor’s apartment in Chandler early Sunday. His injuries are not life-threatening. As The Trace has reported, American gun owners have fired at friends, family members, and emergency responders they mistook for intruders at least 47 times in the last three years.
A 2-year-old boy shot his mother in the back in Louisiana. A 23-year-old woman in Shreveport was seriously injured on Saturday when her 2-year-old found an unsecured handgun in her bedroom and shot her with it. Police urged residents to secure their guns away from children.
A gun case before the Supreme Court could have implications for a defendant in the Trump investigation. SCOTUS on Thursday is scheduled to take up Gamble v. United States, in which an Alabama felon argues that his prosecution by both state and federal attorneys on the same gun possession charge violates constitutional protections against double jeopardy. Experts say the outcome of the case could determine whether state prosecutors can pursue Paul Manafort for tax evasion should the president pardon his former campaign chairman.
ONE LAST THING
Since we profiled her in 2016, a young Chicago anti-gun-violence activist has lost nine more loved ones to shootings. Camiella Williams, 31, is a community organizer at a nonprofit in Chicago who spends her days de-escalating street conflicts and fundraising for trauma counseling for gun violence survivors. She saw her first shooting when she was 10, bought her first gun when she was 11, and dealt some pot as a high schooler. But the shootings of two young girls in her neighborhood when she was pregnant with her first child convinced her that she had to change. To date, she’s lost 33 close friends and relatives to gun violence, she told People last week. When Trace contributor Maya Dukmasova profiled her in 2016, she had already lost two dozen.