Allen West to Challenge Wayne LaPierre for NRA Leadership

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NEW from THE TRACE: The NRA knows it’s impeding gun research. For years, California has maintained a unique database of detailed gun owner information which experts say gives the state a huge advantage in producing comprehensive gun violence research. That practice has come under fire from gun rights groups including the NRA, who sued California after the state authorized its DOJ to share data with accredited researchers. In a new investigation, our first in partnership with The Los Angeles Times, we reveal that at a private meeting in 2021 NRA research director Josh Savani acknowledged the gun group’s opposition to gun violence research has been effective. Garen Wintemute, a physician and professor at UC Davis whose outfit has used California’s data, called Savani’s statements “an admission of what the NRA has denied for 25 years.” You can read more in Will Van Sant’s story here.

Allen West is officially challenging Wayne LaPierre to lead the NRA. The former gun group board member said in a statement that he had agreed to challenge LaPierre after dissident board member Phil Journey and two ex-NRA directors drafted him for the long-shot campaign last week. West, a far-right firebrand and culture warrior, was critical of NRA leadership after claims of financial malfeasance by LaPierre and his coterie first came to light in 2019. West left the NRA board in 2021 to launch a failed bid against Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the gubernatorial primary. The NRA leadership election will take place at the group’s annual meeting in Houston at the end of May.

Six months later, two former Oklahoma police officers are charged with murder. The Comanche County DA charged former officers Nathan Ronan and Robert Hinkle with first-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Quadry Sanders, 29, outside a home in Lawton, Oklahoma in December. Body-camera footage showed that Sanders had just raised his hand when one officer shot him four times. After Sanders fell to the ground and raised his hands again, the officers fired more shots. The officers were fired from the department in January.

Two more big law enforcement groups endorse Steve Dettelbach for ATF. President Biden’s second pick to lead the agency picked up nods from The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the world’s largest group for police leaders, and the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation. Last week, he received support from more than 140 former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials, including two past attorneys general.

ICYMI: Florida highway patrol sees increase in violent road rage. Last month, a Florida reporter submitted a question that inspired Jennifer Mascia’s story on the road rage incidents that have become deadly around the country. Using our data, that reporter then put out their own story on Florida TV news.

The Trace won an award! Our Aftershocks project from former staffers Lakeidra Chavis and Daniel Nass won a Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club for “Best Investigative or In-depth Reporting” in the “Specialty/Trade” category.

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