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Hunter Walker

Hunter Walker is a national affairs reporter for TPM. He came to the site in 2013 from the New York Observer. He has also written for New York Magazine, Gawker, the Village Voice, Forbes, The Daily, and Deadspin. He can be reached at hunter@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Hunter

Anastasia Adair, a 22-year-old Colorado woman, died after she was accidentally shot with an assault rifle she had recently purchased, TV station KMGH reported on Thursday.

Adair's husband, Shane, and other witnesses told police she was drinking with friends in her garage Tuesday night and wanted to show off the weapon. It fired twice, hitting her once in the head as she brought it to the room and passed it to Shane.

Lt. Gary Toldness, of the Federal Heights, Colo., police department, told KMGH initial analysis appeared to be consistent with the reports of an accidental shooting, though the investigation was continuing. He also said Adair purchased the weapon at a gun show in March and described it as an AK-47-type rifle.

KMGH identified Adair as "a new gun enthusiast." A photo posted on her Facebook page in August (left) seemed to show her and Shane using handguns on a shooting range.

Republicans in the Ohio Legislature are pushing a plan that could cost the state's public universities millions of dollars if they provide students with documents to help them register to vote. Backers of the bill describe it as intended to resolve discrepancies between residency requirements for tuition and voter registration, while Democrats and other opponents argue it is a blatant attempt at voter suppression in a crucial swing state.

"What the bill would do is penalize public universities for providing their students with the documents they need to vote," Daniel Tokaji, a professor and election law expert at Ohio State University told TPM. "It's a transparent effort at vote suppression -- about the most blatant and shameful we've seen in this state, which is saying quite a lot."

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The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund released a statement Thursday claiming victory over gun control proponents in a Nebraska mayoral race.

The group attributed Omaha, Neb., Councilwoman Jean Stothert's victory on Tuesday in the mayoral election to her pro-gun positions. Stothert beat out incumbent Mayor Jim Suttle, a member of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"This election represents a great victory for the Second Amendment," the statement said. "As a proud member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), Suttle has been leading the charge to violate your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.  MAIG is founded and funded by billionaire anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  In addition, Suttle ran reelection campaign ads calling for restrictions on your gun rights.  By contrast, Jean Stothert has pledged to defend and protect your firearms freedom in Omaha."

Suttle campaigned on a promise to enact an assault weapons ban in Omaha. The NRA endorsed Stothert about a week before the election. A spokeswoman for Mayors Against Illegal Guns declined to comment.

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta will moderate a debate on gun control featuring Sarah Brady and Asa Hutchinson on May 27.

Brady is chairwoman of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and wife of former White House Press Secretary James Brady who was shot in a 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Hutchinson is a former United States congressman who led the National Rifle Association task force on school safety formed in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting.

The debate, which is entitled "Gun Control: The Second Amendment—Are There Limits?," is part of Panetta's annual lecture series hosted by his Northern California-based Panetta Institute for Public Policy. It will take place at the Monterey Conference Center.

 

The Washington, D.C. City Council is considering legislation that would force people to take out at least $250,000 in insurance before they are eligible to obtain a gun license.

Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh introduced the law. CBS DC reported that the insurance would cover damages resulting from either accidental or intentional uses of guns that was not connected to self defense. Washington already has some of the stiffest gun control laws in the country.

Similar insurance legislation is being looked at in multiple state, but has yet to pass.

The National Rifle Association unveiled a graphic on Twitter on Wednesday evening mocking New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for allegedly ignoring declines in gun crime while pushing for further gun control initiatives. The picture featured a photo of Bloomberg with a duct tape gag over his mouth.

"Gun crime is down and Bloomberg goes mute," it said.

Bloomberg co-founded the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006 and, in the past few months, has spent millions of dollars of his personal fortune to back gun control supporters through his political action committee. On Wednesday, Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who became a major target of Bloomberg's PAC after he opposed bipartisan compromise legislation to expand background checks last month, said the mayor's organization would be launching a new batch of attack ads against him.

Bloomberg's office did not immediately responded to a request for comment about the graphic. However, the mayor has regularly touted decreasing crime in New York City and referred to it as evidence his work fighting guns is justified.

“The number of murders this year will be lower than any time in recorded city history,” Bloomberg said at a December 2012 press conference, announcing New York had record low numbers of shootings and murders in that year. “The fact that the safest big city in America is safer than ever is a testament to the hard work and determination of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day – and it also reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence.”

View the NRA's anti-Bloomberg graphic below.

 

Campaign finance reports filed this week by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) show he has collected $3,000 in donations since March from a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association.

The latest of those reports became public Monday, just as Christie's Democratic opponent in the Garden State governor's race, state Sen. Barbara Buono, has been hitting him for having a weak stance on gun control.

"We've seen really exceptional leadership across the river with Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, but unfortunately, in New Jersey, Gov. Christie has not shown leadership," Buono told TPM by phone on Monday evening.

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A student at Rangeview High School in Aurora, Colo. received what police described as a "significant injury" on Monday upon being accidentally shot in the school's parking lot.

According to Denver TV station KMGH, the student was wounded when a school employee who was giving the student a ride home. The employee accidentally discharged a gun while trying to put it into the glove box of the car. The man was carrying the weapon because, in addition to working at the school, he also worked another job as an armed security guard.

After the shooting, the man drove the student to a hospital. The student underwent surgery and is reportedly expected to survive. It is not immediately clear whether charges will be filed against the man who shot the student, KMGH reported.

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