Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Hunters for Gun Control

Hello, readers. More financial pressure on the firearms industry as a California pension fund considers a major divestment from assault weapons manufacturers and Bank of America reaffirms its commitment not to lend to companies that make such guns. Meanwhile, another gun manufacturer punishes Dick’s Sporting Goods for the restrictions the retail chain enacted after Parkland. Those stories and more, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A $225 billion teachers’ pension fund in California may divest from sellers of assault-style weapons. On Wednesday, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System voted to push retailers to drop their remaining stock of assault-style weapons and potentially divest from those who don’t. In March, another pension fund in the state rejected a similar plan. The teachers’ group has put pressure on the gun industry before. In April 2013, four months after Newtown, CalSTRS approved a plan to pull its $3 million from the firearm manufacturing consortium now operating under the Remington name, a decision that contributed to that company’s current financial straits.

Bank of America reaffirms its pledge to stop financing military-style rifles. On Sunday, Reuters reported that Bank of America would follow through on an existing loan agreement with the bankrupt gunmaker Remington, sparking criticism from gun safety activists who believed the move went against the bank’s new policy. In a letter on Thursday, Bank of America restated its commitment, saying that it will govern the bank’s relationship with the firearm company going forward. “Remington is aware of the policy that we subsequently announced, and that policy will dictate our future actions after the bankruptcy proceedings conclude.”

Another firearms manufacturer cuts ties with Dick’s Sporting Goods. On Wednesday, Mossberg & Sons, Inc., announced it would stop selling products to Dick’s and its Field & Stream subsidiary. The decision was in response to the retailer’s hiring of gun reform lobbyists in April. Since then, two other major gun manufacturers and the nation’s largest gun trade organization have also cut ties with Dick’s.

Hunters release a 10-point plan on gun safety. A group of eight hunters penned a HuffPost op-ed on Thursday in support of gun reform measures, including a ban on assault-style weapons and universal background checks. They also distanced themselves from the gun industry, writing: “We don’t buy a lot of guns. We usually have a few favorites, often passed down to us by fathers or grandfathers. The gun industry figured that out decades ago, and switched to creating guns for a different market.” Related: At the National Rifle Association’s convention last week, tactical gear was on full display. Hunting weapons, less so.

A New York lawmaker introduced a bill that would outlaw all high school shooting-sports programs in the state. “Schools should not be supporting the spread of gun culture in society,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Elizabeth Rosentahl. “If parents want their children to have shooting instruction, there are opportunities that have nothing to do with the school.” She introduced the bill after learning that the Parkland gunman honed his marksmanship skills on an NRA-funded rifle team.

Oliver North’s plan to increase NRA membership: recruit from the military. In his first interview since being appointed NRA president, North said he plans to draw from his connections in the armed forces to help reach his goal of one million new members. He also doubled down on the NRA’s “School Shield” security program, which includes armed school staff, as a solution to mass shootings.

ONE LAST THING

Police in Austin, Texas, can no longer sell used guns to the public. The City Council passed the resolution yesterday. Law enforcement in Texas offloaded more than 10,000 weapons in the past decade, an analysis by the Texas Standard and Center for Investigative Reporting found. Some of the guns sold by police ended up back in the hands of criminals.

The Austin Police Department now faces the question of what to do with its surplus of seized weapons. One solution pursued elsewhere: melting them down. That’s what Honolulu’s Police Department did with 2,300 of its retired service weapons in 2015. As The Trace reported then, the department’s decision to destroy its cache of pistols was motivated by the fear of those weapons later being used in crimes. The department issued a statement explaining that the mayor and the department “would not allow the guns to be sold to the general public and end up on the streets of Honolulu.”