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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► President Trump is visiting
Toledo Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas today in the wake of last weekend’s mass shootings. As the Associated Press reports:
Protesters greeted President Donald Trump’s arrival in Dayton Wednesday, blaming his incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the country, as he visited survivors of last weekend’s mass shootings and saluted first responders.
Critics say Trump’s own words have contributed to a combustible climate that can spawn violence such as the outbreaks in Dayton and El Paso, Texas.
Trump rejected that assertion as he left the White House, strongly criticizing those who say he bears some responsibility for the nation’s divisions.
“My critics are political people,” Trump said, noting the apparent political leanings of the shooter in the Dayton killings and suggesting the man was supportive of Democrats.
If pointing fingers healed wounds, President Trump would be our greatest surgeon.
► Republican politicians are starting to poke their heads up after a week of mass shootings in the United States and realizing that we have a gun violence problem on our hands. James Hohmann of the Washington Post explains the latest convert:
When the National Rifle Association endorsed Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) for a ninth term last fall, the group noted that he’s consistently maintained an “A” rating and has been “solidly pro-gun.” Literature sent to members emphasized Turner’s opposition to expanding background checks and banning assault weapons, as well as his past vote to immunize gun manufacturers from liability and to force all states, regardless of their own laws, to recognize concealed carry permits issued anywhere else.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Turner’s daughter and a family friend had just entered the Tumbleweed Connection bar in Dayton when a gunman opened fire across the street. Nine people were killed, and 27 were injured. The congressman’s daughter ran home, as he prayed for her and the community.
On Tuesday afternoon, Turner announced that he’s had a change of heart on gun control.He said he would vote for an assault weapons ban, limits on the size of gun magazines and for a federal “red flag” law that would make it easier to “quickly identify people who are dangerous” so their firearms can be taken away.
“The carnage these military style weapons are able to produce when available to the wrong people is intolerable,” Turner said in a statement. “I understand not every shooting can be prevented or stopped from these measures, but I do believe these steps are essential. … This tragedy must become a catalyst for a broader national conversation about what we can do to stop these mass shootings.”
As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, there is still not yet enough of a will from Republicans to seriously address gun violence. President Trump said Wednesday that he sees “no political appetite” for renewing a long-expired ban on assault rifles in the United States, though he left open the possibility that he would support calling Congress back into session to expand background checks for gun purchases. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing increased pressure to act on gun violence but has so far continued to refuse to even debate a pair of bills passed in February by the House of Representatives.
► Plans to move the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado were met with skepticism from those who worried that the real motivation for the move was to kill off the agency altogether. Those concerns are now being realized.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump has claimed to have taken measures to increase gun safety during his Presidency. As Politico reports, the opposite is true:
Federal agencies have implemented more than half a dozen policy changes — primarily through little-noticed regulatory moves — that expand access to guns by lifting firearms bans in certain locations and limiting the names in the national database designed to keep firearms away from dangerous people. The administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn New York City restrictions on transporting handguns outside homes. And it pushed to allow U.S. gunmakers to more easily sell firearms overseas, including the types used in mass shootings.
“This president has in a very intentional, sweeping way made it easier for people to access firearms, not more difficult,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a vice chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “He’s systematically gone and undone all the protections that were put in place to try to limit the ability of dangerous people to access firearms.”
Trump’s critics say they aren’t surprised by his actions after he received an early and strong endorsement from the National Rifle Association, which spent $30 million to help his 2016 campaign and to blast his Democratic opponent in TV ads. After he was sworn into office, Trump vowed repeatedly to repay gun owners for their support.
► There is another candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2020. Her name is Michelle Ferrigno Warren, and we’d be lying if we said we’d heard her name before. From the Denver Post:
“Politics has become a game of winning and losing,” she said in an interview. “When politics is just a game of winning and losing, we all lose. We can’t afford to lose anymore.”
Politics has always been about winning and losing. That’s sort of the point of elections.
Documents indicate that the National Rifle Association planned to purchase a luxury mansion in the Dallas area last year for the use of chief executive Wayne LaPierre, according to two people familiar with the records.
The discussions about the roughly $6 million purchase, which was not completed, are now under scrutiny by New York investigators. The transaction was slated to be made through a corporate entity that received a wire of tens of thousands of dollars from the NRA in 2018, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
The New York attorney general’s office is now examining the plan for an NRA-financed mansion as part of its ongoing investigation into the gun lobby’s tax-exempt status, in which it has subpoenaed the group’s financial records, the people said.
Why do so many Republicans continue to blindly follow such a morally-bankrupt organization?
— Cardboard Cory (@CardboardCoryCO) August 6, 2019
► The NRA may be falling apart before our eyes, but the extreme gun loving group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is as influential as ever in Colorado. The state Republican Party is not better off as a result.
► Westword takes a look at who benefits financially from the Presidential campaigns of former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet.
Elsewhere, it doesn’t appear that either Hick or Bennet received a boost in the aftermath of last week’s Democratic Presidential candidate debates. Hickenlooper is looking more and more likely to switch his 2020 ambitions from President to U.S. Senate.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will make appearances at two private fundraising events during the August recess. It’s theoretically possible that Gardner will hold a public event in Colorado at some time before the end of the year.
► As the new school year begins in Colorado, officials are reporting another record number of contacts for the state’s Safe2Tell program. From the Denver Post:
Students and concerned adults made about 4,400 more tips to Colorado’s Safe2Tell reporting line in the school year that ended July 31 than they did in the previous year, continuing an upward trend since 2004.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office reported 19,861 “actionable” tips in the 2018-2019 school year, not including duplicate tips and prank messages. About 2.4% were believed to be intentionally false reports…
…July was a relatively slow period for tips, but the system — created to allow students to anonymously report threats following the Columbine massacre in 1999 — still recorded a major increase over the same time last year.
► President Trump’s trade wars are killing farmers, and there’s no end in sight.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► In which Donald Trump, Jr. compares Democratic Presidential candidate Joaquin Castro to the alleged perpetrator of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
► Puerto Rico may need a new Governor to replace the Governor who replaced the guy who recently resigned as Governor.
► Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville is leading the way for House Republicans to get involved in silly efforts at recalling Gov. Jared Polis. How this possibly helps Republicans negotiate with Democrats in the next legislative session is a question we can’t even begin to answer.