Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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President Donald Trump speaks at the 2017 NRA convention in Atlanta. [AP/Mike Stewart]

NRA Reps Dined With Russian Officials in Moscow During 2016 Campaign

Hello, readers. The latest on the investigation into whether Russians used the National Rifle Association to help finance Donald Trump’s candidacy: representatives from the gun group dined with Russian officials in Moscow during the 2016 campaign. In other news, students will hold a die-in at the Capitol tomorrow, and family members of nine Sutherland Springs victims are suing the federal government. Those stories and more, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NRA representatives and Russian officials dined together multiple times in Moscow during the 2016 election, a new report from McClatchy reveals. The news comes amid the Justice Department’s reported investigation into whether Russian banker Alexander Torshin illegally funneled money to the NRA to contribute to its record-breaking campaign expenditures in support of Donald Trump. Besides Torshin, NRA officials also met with Dmitry Rogozin, the former deputy prime minister in charge of Russia’s defense industry.

The Pulse massacre in Orlando was two years ago tomorrow. In just the surrounding three miles, there have been 87 shootings during the 24 months since. The statistic comes in a powerful interactive map from the New York Times editorial board, which used the anniversary to highlight the toll of everyday gun violence, which kills 96 people every day in the United States.

Temporary gun seizure laws might be a solution to the country’s rising suicide rate. As a Centers for Disease Control study revealed last week, suicides — which account for two thirds of gun deaths — have increased across geographic and demographic lines since 1999. The Times noted some key takeaways from the report, including the fact that one such law in Indiana led to a 7.5 percent decrease in the expected suicide rate, and the fact that the states with the lowest suicide rates (New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Connecticut) have stricter gun laws.

Intuit credit card software stopped processing gun-related purchases in at least a few instances. The New York Post reports that two small firearms businesses saw charges refunded by Intuit software in recent weeks. The total number of businesses affected is unclear, and Intuit has declined requests to comment on its policy toward clients in the gun industry.

Two Texans who lost nine family members in the Sutherland Springs shooting last fall are suing the federal government. The gunman had previously served in the Air Force but was given a bad-conduct discharge after a court martial for assaulting his wife and stepson. The charges should have prevented him from buying a gun, but were not uploaded into the federal background check database. Plaintiffs Joe and Claryce Holcombe are seeking $25 million in damages each. Their son was the visiting pastor at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. He was killed, along with his wife, son, daughter-in-law (whose unborn child also died), and four grandchildren. After the Air Force last fall revealed it had not submitted the criminal records of dozens of other former service members, three cities (New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco) filed suit against the Department of Defense.

There were at least nine mass shootings over the weekend, leaving four dead and 43 wounded. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which counts mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot, there were three such incidents in Illinois alone. The other shootings were dotted across the map: in Boston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, North Carolina, and Florida. In Kannapolis, a town in central North Carolina, four people were shot when someone fired into a crowd outside a graduation party.

ONE LAST THING 

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas choir sang “Seasons of Love” at the Tonys last night, after their drama teacher received recognition during Broadway’s annual awards show. The song features prominently in the musical “Rent,” which includes multiple characters with HIV-AIDS in the 1980s. For the student-led anti-gun violence movement, echoes of AIDS awareness activism have abounded: During March for Our Lives protests, for instance, students adopted one of their predecessors’ famous slogans: “If I die in a school shooting, drop my body on the steps of the CDC.”

In a new post on The Trace today, Beatrix Lockwood writes about a student-led protest planned for the Capitol tomorrow, where teenagers will stage a die-in — another protest tactic popularized by the HIV-AIDS movement. It’s part of a national day of action organized to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, and another sign that the youth movement for gun reform has not slowed down now that classes are out for the summer. Just last week students in Brooklyn and Seattle walked out of their schools to protest gun violence in their communities.