A new Gallup poll finds that 61% of Americans favor stricter laws on the sale of firearms, down modestly from March, when 67% said this shortly after the Parkland, Florida, school shooting on February 14.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) writing in the Washington Post:
In the years since the Senate last had a meaningful debate about gun-violence legislation, we’ve seen assault rifles and high-capacity magazines repeatedly used in mass shootings, with ever-higher body counts: Forty-nine murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Fifty-eight killed and 422 wounded by gunfire in Las Vegas, one year ago Monday.
We’ve seen the gun lobby close its eyes to the fact that assault rifles were the weapon of choice for the mass shooters at Parkland, Fla., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and to the reality that these weapons can kill with an efficiency that shotguns and handguns, like the ones I own, simply cannot match.
Though I remain convinced that strengthening our background-check system is critical, I also believe we must do more to end mass shootings. So today I am signing on as a sponsor of the assault weapons ban.
“The National Rifle Association’s political spending is sharply down heading into the 2018 midterm elections, a shift that could reflect declining fundraising in the wake of a string of mass shootings and an FBI investigation into the group’s Russia ties,” McClatchy reports.
“The politically potent gun advocacy group has this year spent one-tenth of what it had spent politically at this point in 2014.”
“Everytown for Gun Safety, the group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is rolling out a $5 million digital ad campaign targeting 15 House races, as the group continues heavy investment in the midterm elections,” Politico reports.
“The full list of targeted Republican incumbents include: Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); Mike Coffman (R-CO), Karen Handel (R-GA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Erik Philip Paulsen (R-MN), Mike Bishop (R-MI), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) and Barbara Comstock (R-VA). The group is also going after seven open, Republican-controlled seats that include suburbs in metro areas from Seattle to New York City.”
Giffords PAC is going to spend nearly $1.5 million on a TV and digital ad targeting vulnerable Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO).
Playbook: “Democratic operatives tell us that they believe the midterms are going to be a turning point on gun control. Their reasoning: Students from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have ramped up their activism across the country in an effort to register young voters. And, the WSJ recently put out an analysis with Kantar Media/CMAG data that found there has been a 22% increase in ads promoting stricter gun regulations since four years ago.”
Since many more voters believe their Second Amendment rights are protected while President Trump is in office, gun buyers are no longer stocking up on AR-15 assault rifles, the Wall Street Journal reports.
This “Trump slump” in the gun market has led to a 50% drop in long gun revenue for Smith & Wesson’s parent company since 2016.
“The mother of a student murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14 has been elected to the Broward County School Board in a landslide,” the Miami Herald reports.
Said Lori Alhadeff: “I am so excited. I am elated. I can’t wait to start making change and start making an impact on the school board.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “is considering whether to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators,” the New York Times reports.
“Such a move appears to be unprecedented, reversing a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.”
Wall Street Journal: “Democrats running for Congress in 2018 are pushing a muscular gun-control agenda that represents a wholesale repositioning on the hot-button issue. In this year’s midterm election, gun control has become a party litmus test from which few dissent, alongside abortion rights and support for same-sex marriage.”
“Six years ago, when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee advised candidates in rural districts to show themselves with guns in their TV ads, the National Rifle Association made campaign contributions to 30 Democratic House candidates. This year, the NRA is financially backing just three.”
“The National Rifle Association warns that it is in grave financial jeopardy, according to a recent court filing obtained by Rolling Stone, and that it could soon ‘be unable to exist… or pursue its advocacy mission.'”
“The reason, according to the NRA filing, is not its deep entanglement with alleged Russian agents like Maria Butina. Instead, the gun group has been suing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s financial regulators since May, claiming the NRA has been subject to a state-led ‘blacklisting campaign’ that has inflicted ‘tens of millions of dollars in damages.'”
John Avlon reports the Trump administration is allowing anyone to 3D print a gun without the hassle of background checks.
Lucy McBath (D), whose teenage son, Jordan, was shot and killed in 2012 by a stranger at a gas station, won the Democratic nomination for Georgia’s 6th congressional district, ABC News reports.
Said McBath: “I never expected this to happen, but I know that in light of all my experiences, to not to do anything is a tragedy in itself.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) “told a group of students from Great Mills High School, where a 16-year old girl was killed earlier this year, that he would” reject an NRA endorsement, the Washington Post reports.
As part of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s new Showtime series, current and former Republican lawmakers endorsed a fake program to train and arm children as young as four years old.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the Lexington Herald-Leader that he doesn’t think the federal government can do much to respond to school shootings.
Said McConnell: “I don’t think at the federal level there’s much that we can do other than appropriate funds. You would think, given how much it takes to get on an American plane or given how much it takes to get into courthouses, that this might be something that we could achieve, but I don’t think we could do that from Washington, I think it’s basically a local decision.”
He added: “It’s a darn shame that’s where we are, but this epidemic is something that’s got all of our attention. And I know it’s got the attention of every school superintendent in the country.”
“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.”