Gun Control

Russians Met with NRA During 2016 Campaign

“Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign,” McClatchy reports.

“The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member Alexander Torshin illegally channeled money through the gun rights group to add financial firepower to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.”

Florida Had No Gun Background Checks for a Year

“For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system… The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.”

“Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) has made it a priority to speed up the issuing of concealed weapons permits since he was elected in 2010… Now running for Florida governor as a Republican, Putnam’s campaign touts his expansion of concealed carry permits as one of his top accomplishments.”

School Safety Panel Will Not Look at Guns

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that the federal school safety commission set up after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will not examine the role of guns in school violence, the AP reports.

Said DeVos: “That is not part of the commission’s charge per se. We are actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school.”

‘It Was Like Talking to a Toddler’

Rhonda Hart, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed at a Houston-area school, told the Associated Press that during her meeting with President Trump he repeatedly used the word “wacky” to describe the shooter and the trench coat he wore.

She said she told Trump, “Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn’t be in the situation.”

Hart, an Army veteran, said she also suggested employing veterans as sentinels in schools. She said Trump responded, “And arm them?” She replied, “No,” but said Trump “kept mentioning” arming classroom teachers.

Said Hart: “It was like talking to a toddler.”

GOP Lawmaker Blames Porn for School Shootings

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) said that pornography is a “big part” of what is driving the spike in school shootings, the HuffPost reports.

Said Black: “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store. Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there. All of this is available without parental guidance. I think that is a big part of the root cause.”

She didn’t clarify what it is about porn that she thinks is leading to school massacres.

Sandy Hook Families Sue Alex Jones

New York Times: “More than five years after one of the most horrific mass shootings in modern history, the families of Sandy Hook victims are still enduring daily threats and online abuse from people who believe bogus theories spread by Mr. Jones, whom President Trump has praised for his “amazing” reputation.”

“In three separate lawsuits — the most recent was filed on Wednesday in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Conn. — the families of eight Sandy Hook victims as well as an F.B.I. agent who responded to the shooting seek damages for defamation. The families allege in one suit… that Mr. Jones and his colleagues ‘persistently perpetuated a monstrous, unspeakable lie: that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, and that the families who lost loved ones that day are actors who faked their relatives’ deaths.'”

Texas Official Blames ‘Too Many Entrances’ at Schools

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) suggested the existence of “too many entrances and too many exits” in schools may lead to such shootings, the Daily Beast reports.

Said Patrick: “We have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built… there are too many entrances and too many exits to our over 8,000 campuses in Texas. There aren’t enough people to put a guard at every entrance and exit…maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people coming in through one or two entrances.”

He added: “We’re gonna have to be creative. We’re gonna have to think out of the box.”

Congressional Candidate: ‘Fuck the NRA’

Pat Davis (D), running for Congress in New Mexico, “is using an expletive in television ads to condemn the National Rifle Association and inaction by U.S. lawmakers on gun control,” the AP reports.

Said Davis: “Fuck the NRA. Their pro-gun policies have resulted in dead children, dead mothers and dead fathers.”

“KRQE-TV General Manager Bill Anderson says the station is not permitted by law to censor or edit Davis’ commercial and must provide equal access to candidates.”

Oliver North Named President of the NRA

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, a central figure of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s, has been named president of the National Rifle Association, CNN reports.

Said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre: “Oliver North is, hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our NRA Board, to fully engage with our members, and to unflinchingly stand and fight for the great freedoms he has defended his entire life.”

No Guns Allowed at NRA Convention

“Attendees at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas can carry their firearms — except during the forum where President Trump and Vice President Pence speak Friday,” the AP reports.

“The NRA posted a notice on its website saying that the arena will be under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Secret Service during the leadership forum. It’s standard for the Secret Service to bar firearms from being carried into places visited by the people they protect, regardless of state laws. Other prohibited items include toy guns and knives, according to the NRA posting.”

Trump Will Address NRA Meeting

President Trump “is expected to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting later this week in Dallas,” CNN reports..

“The trip would be Trump’s third consecutive address to the NRA’s annual meeting. But this year, Trump is set to speak to the gun lobby just two months after he drew concerns from conservatives after urging lawmakers to not fear the NRA and suggesting law enforcement officials should take guns away from dangerous individuals without due process.”

NRA Admits to 23 Russian-Linked Contributions

“The National Rifle Association has accepted contributions from about 23 Russians, or Americans living in Russia, since 2015, the gun rights group acknowledged to Congress,” NPR reports.

“The NRA said in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) that the sum it received from those people was just over $2,500 and most of that was ‘routine payments’ for membership dues or magazine subscriptions.”