NRA

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.

The NRA said in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., unveiled on Wednesday, 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.

The National Rifle Association acknowledged that it accepts foreign donations but says it does not use them for election work — even as federal investigators look into the role the NRA might have played in Russia's attack on the 2016 election.

Lately, the NRA has relied heavily on videos to communicate with the public and its supporters, and video is how it announced its position on legislation to temporarily remove guns from people thought to pose a threat.

The political and legal fallout from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's decision to sign a sweeping gun bill into law following a school massacre was nearly immediate as the National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit to stop it and political candidates in both parties criticized it.

The National Rifle Association has filed a federal lawsuit over gun control legislation Florida Gov. Rick Scott has signed, saying it violates the Second Amendment by raising the age to buy guns from 18 to 21.

Daniel Bock / Miami Herald

Guests for Sundial on Thursday, March 1: 

WLRN education reporter Jessica Bakeman joined us from Tallahassee for an update on budget talks and gun legislation from the state's capital. Bakeman also provided insight on the impact Miami-Dade County Public School's Superintendent Alberto Carvalho departure would have if he decided to take a job offered to him as chancellor of New York City public schools. (Carvalho declined the offer later that day.) 

Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Florida Trend via Miami Herald

As a veteran and West Point graduate, retired Florida real estate developer Al Hoffman Jr. says he knows what military-style weapons like the AR-15 can do.

“They're still designed to kill people,” said Hoffman, of North Palm Beach. “I don't care what anybody says, that's what they're for.”

Hoffman served as finance chair for the Republican National Committee and co-chair of both George W. Bush campaigns. Now, as a private citizen and major Republican donor, he plans to put his influence to use to ban assault weapons.

Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

Survivors of a mass shooting at a Florida high school are hoping to expand the reach of their gun control movement by seeking a boycott of companies doing business with the NRA and urging tourists to boycott the Sunshine State.

Tom Hudson / WLRN

Mike Fernandez has raised millions of dollars for mostly Republican politicians, but he says no one seeking public office will get his money if they don't support gun control.

In trying to clarify his Wednesday comments about arming teachers and other school personnel, President Trump, a day later, aligned himself even more closely with the National Rifle Association on the issue of teachers with guns and beefing up school security.

So much so, they seemed, at times, to be reading from the same script.

Here's how the day started — with NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC (emphasis ours):

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Just over a week after 17 people were killed at Parkland, Fla., high school, National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a fiery, defiant speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Thursday at the National Harbor in Maryland. LaPierre defended Second Amendment rights and warned of a "socialist agenda" intended to strip firearms away from law-abiding citizens.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he would support raising the age limit to 21 for those wanting to purchase AR-15-style rifles.

"If you are 18 years of age, you should not be able to buy a rifle," Rubio said at a CNN town hall meeting Wednesday night. "I will support a law that takes that right away."

Rubio, who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, said he does not support arming teachers, but does support background check regulation reform.

A liberal group is filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday to demand an investigation into whether the National Rifle Association took contributions from Russians, which would be a violation of the law.

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