Good morning, Bulletin readers. A new survey reveals that Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on whether gun violence is a major problem in America. In a legal first, both the online retailer that allowed a prohibited purchaser to order a gun and the brick-and-mortar dealer that completed the sale were held liable for negligence. And Parkland activists are mounting a final voter-registration drive ahead of the midterms.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Members of a far-right group were found on a rooftop with a cache of guns before a summer protest. Police in Portland, Oregon, revealed yesterday that officers seized firearms from followers of Patriot Prayer before an early August demonstration in the city, where political protests and counter-protests have turned violent. The Portland PD returned the weapons, because the Patriot Prayer members had concealed carry licenses and officers concluded no laws had been broken. How to Keep Armed Militias Out of Your City: As Alex Yablon has reported, state laws provide options, even where openly carried guns are permitted and communities are prohibited from passing their own gun laws.
Republicans and Democrats are divided over the significance of gun violence. According to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center, only 25 percent of Republican voters view gun violence as a “very big problem,” compared to 81 percent of Democratic voters. There’s much more agreement on whether violent crime is a problem (49 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats say it is).
Gun dealers can be held liable when they facilitate Internet sales to prohibited buyers. In a case that sets a legal precedent, World Pawn Exchange, an Oregon gun dealer, and J&G Sales, an Arizona-based online firearms retailer, reached a settlement with the family of Kirsten Englund, who was fatally shot at a highway rest stop in 2013 by a mentally troubled man barred from gun ownership. Englund’s family argued that the retailers were negligent because the gunman ordered the firearms online with his credit card, but his mother picked them up and put them in her name. The retailers agreed to make “significant business reforms” and pay the Englunds $750,000.
March For Our Lives plans a final voter-registration push. The group, which toured more than 70 communities this summer under the banner “Vote For Our Lives,” will hit 12 cities in 12 days leading up to November 6. A second group of Stoneman Douglas students is planning a Student Gun Violence Summit in Washington, D.C., next week that will feature some of the country’s most prominent gun reform groups.
A Wisconsin couple was found shot to death in their home. Their 13-year-old daughter is missing. James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, were found dead of gunshot wounds in their home west of Barron at around 1 a.m. on Monday. Police are searching for their daughter, Jayme, who is considered “endangered.”
A Montana judge has upheld Missoula’s ordinance requiring background checks on all gun sales in the city. Judge Robert Deschamps rejected an opinion from Montana’s attorney general that said state pre-emption laws forbid local governments from making their own gun laws. State officials said they’ll appeal to the Montana Supreme Court.
ONE LAST THING
A young black man reveals how he learned to embrace gun culture. RJ Young, a writer and sports commentator from Oklahoma, says all he knew about guns growing up is that they were likely to kill him. But when he became engaged, and his future father-in-law handed him “the biggest damn revolver I’ve ever seen in my life,” he realized that if he wanted to know the man, he’d have to embrace his guns. Young ended up doing that and then some, becoming a certified National Rifle Association instructor, a transformation he recounts in his memoir, Let It Bang: A Young Black Man’s Reluctant Odyssey into Guns, excerpted here by NPR.