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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Why 90 Percent of Gun Owners Aren’t NRA Members

Hello, readers. Alex Yablon has the big news from Sturm Ruger’s annual meeting, where shareholders passed a contested proposal to study the business risks associated with gun violence. Also in today’s briefing: gun reform developments at the municipal, state, and national level.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: Sturm Ruger shareholders passed a resolution requiring the company to produce a report on gun safety. By February, the gunmaker will have to assess the business risks of gun violence and disclose its approach to producing safer products. The report will be a first for the gun industry, experts believe. The proposal, introduced by a small group of faith-based investors, passed at the company’s annual meeting yesterday, despite objections from Ruger and its board. Asset manager BlackRock, which has said that “responsible policies and practices are critical to [the] long-term prospects” of gun companies, reportedly voted for the resolution. As Ruger’s largest shareholder, BlackRock’s vote held great sway. Reporter Alex Yablon has our report here. Meanwhile: Sturm Ruger’s sales were down 22 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

Members of Congress introduce bipartisan red flag bill. The legislation would provide financial incentives — $50 million a year — to states that enact laws that allow law enforcement to seize guns from potentially dangerous people. Nine states currently have red flag laws in place. A dozen others have proposals under consideration. Yesterday, we updated our “red flag law” tracker to reflect the status of these bills on the state level.

A British insurance company is cutting ties to the National Rifle Association. On Wednesday, Lloyd’s of London said it would terminate all insurance made available through the gun group. Last week, New York financial regulators announced that the NRA’s Carry Guard insurance program violated state law. Chubb and Lockton, two of companies that helped facilitate the program, were hit with hefty fines.

Lawmakers in Orange County, Florida, voted to close the so-called gun show loophole. The ordinance, which received unanimous support, would allow authorities to conduct background checks for weapons purchased at gun shows. It also restores a three-day waiting period on such sales, which was repealed seven years ago as part of an NRA-backed state law.

A bump stock ban is headed to the governor’s desk in Connecticut. The measure, which bans devices that allow semiautomatic firearms to fire at a rate similar to fully automatic weapons, passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support. Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, proposed the legislation earlier this year and said he plans to sign it into law. The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, also banned the devices. On Wednesday, the Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance outlawing bump stocks within city limits. Violating the ban is a misdemeanor offense.

Baltimore hit 100 homicides on Tuesday as anti-violence activists plan a “cease-fire weekend.” The city is on pace to surpass 300 homicides for the fourth year in a row. Last year was Baltimore’s deadliest year ever, with a per-capita record of 343 homicides. To reverse the trend, local organizers are calling for three days of peace. This Mother’s Day weekend, Baltimore Ceasefire will call for its third violence-free weekend this year. The last effort, which was held in February, led to a record-breaking 21-day streak without a homicide in the city.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has hired lobbyists to take on banks that impose restrictions on gun clients. The gun trade group says it tapped the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Hollier & Associates in response to “discriminatory banking actions against [the] firearms industry.” Last week, NSSF cut ties with Dick’s Sporting Goods after the retailer retained its own lobbyists for gun reform.

Doctors should be talking to patients with dementia about firearms, researchers recommend. Pediatricians aren’t the only physicians with reason to ask about gun habits. A new study addresses the benefits of discussing the risks with older patients, as well. The report highlights the increased risk of suicide for people with progressive cognitive impairment. Data shows that firearms make suicide attempts far more lethal.

A Texas man was arrested for making his gun available to his 4-year-old son, who shot himself. The boy was rushed to the hospital on April 21 with a gunshot wound to the leg. He had shot himself with his father’s revolver after finding it on a nightstand in a  bedroom. In Texas, police are required to wait at least seven days before making an arrest when a child is injured with an unsecured weapon. The father was arrested on Tuesday.

At least three other children have unintentionally shot themselves in the past week. On Friday night, a 3-year-old fatally shot himself with a gun he found in the living room of a trailer in Walterboro, South Carolina. Monday evening, a 4-year-old boy in Henrico County, Virginia, died in the hospital after he shot himself with his mother’s gun, which he found in her closet. And on Tuesday: a 3-year-old in Detroit shot himself in the stomach after getting hold of his father’s gun. His father was arrested.

ONE LAST THING

Why the majority of gun owners don’t join the NRA. poll conducted by HuffPost and YouGov found that 90 percent of gun owners aren’t NRA members. One in four non-NRA gun owners polled said they didn’t join because they disagreed with the group’s politics. Others said they felt the group did not represent them or that the membership was simply too expensive.

As part of our NRA and Me project, Trace contributor Kerry Shaw spoke with more than a dozen current and former NRA members about their relationships to the group. Their experiences reinforce what the statistical findings of the HuffPost/YouGov poll make clear: gun owners are not a monolithic group.

Even dedicated NRA members hold more multi-faceted views than the media portrays. Read their stories and learn about the gun regulations they support in our series.