Rifles hang on display at ABQ Guns in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. (Photographer: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg)

The Gun Controversy Is Smaller Than You Think

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ICYMI

Stocks meandered. Trump tried to double Amazon’s postage costs. A farm bill failed in the House.

Time to Talk About Gun Laws

Ten people died in a Texas school shooting today, and another 10 were wounded.

Those numbers are grievous, and they add to grievous milestones. This was:

  • America’s 16th school shooting this year, by the Washington Post’s count, the most in any year since 1999, with seven months to go; 
  • The deadliest school shooting since the one in Parkland, Florida – which only happened on February 14, unbelievably;
  • The 101st mass shooting this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The people currently running the country – namely, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and most importantly the National Rifle Association – quickly offered thoughts, prayers and a denunciation of “evil.” What they didn’t offer were solutions.

But there are plenty of solutions on the table. And most Americans support them, even if the people leading them don’t, note Bloomberg’s editors, citing a new American Public Health Association poll.

Here are some more numbers, from that survey:

  • 87.8 percent of Americans (including gun owners) want universal background checks;
  • 84.8 percent support making arms dealers account for missing guns;
  • 83.6 percent want states to report people who shouldn’t have guns to a background-check system;
  • 81 percent want to keep people under domestic-violence restraining orders from getting guns;
  • 78.9 percent want to let families ask courts to take guns from people deemed to be a risk of harming themselves or others.

The NRA opposes even these regulations (note there’s nothing here about, say, banning assault-style rifles, which is supported even by 40 percent of gun owners, according to the APHA). As long as the NRA opposes these laws, so do our leaders.

Those same leaders also say it’s crass to talk about gun laws so soon after a shooting, that we shouldn’t politicize gun deaths. But given the depressing regularity of such violence, there will never be a “right” time to talk about this problem by that standard. And the solutions won’t spring forth on their own; leaders must take action. 

As the cycle continues, the death toll of young Americans keeps growing.

Great Pall of China

The Trump administration is still trying to negotiate a trade deal that will curb China’s protectionism and piracy while also avoiding a destructive trade war. China has reportedly offered to cut its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion (though Chinese officials have denied that report). This offer is:

  1. Likely a sop to Trump, who is pointlessly obsessed with the China trade gap, which hit $375 billion last year;
  2. An impossible goal, as David Fickling points out: “Taking $200 billion off that deficit would involve either more than doubling U.S. exports, almost halving its imports, or some combination of the two.”

Anyway, while Trump should definitely stop trying to save jobs at China’s ZTE, he should also be careful about wreaking havoc on its economy, warns Christopher Balding. That’s because China’s economy, as strong as it seems from the outside, is too frail to handle the pressure.

The GOP’s Red State Problem

Republican dogma appeals to Heartland voters, but doesn’t help them very much, according to Conor Sen. In fact, immigration, Medicaid expansion and other such liberal fare are growing more important to the shrinking rural communities of the GOP base. Meanwhile, most population growth in historically rural states is happening in such liberal enclaves as cities and college towns. At some point this tension must break – or Republicans will start losing more elections in red states.

Chart Attack

If you are wondering why Campbell Soup Co.’s CEO just stepped down, just look at that diving blue line. It’s time for a new strategy, writes Sarah Halzack.

A slew of pipeline master limited partnerships were raptured this week; which, weirdly, makes the sector more crowded, writes Liam Denning.

Pricing a new migraine drug at an annual cost of something less than a Rolls Royce is good for Amgen Inc. and for the broader drug industry, writes Max Nisen.

Weekend Reads

Europe can easily keep pumping money to Iran, using the SWIFT banking cooperative. – Leonid Bershidsky

Wells Fargo & Co. talks about its values, but they seem non-existent. – Joe Nocera 

Trump calling immigrants “animals” isn’t as dangerous as his blurring the lines between criminal and non-criminal immigrants. – Ramesh Ponnuru

To attract new citizens, cities need to offer more than just good jobs – Justin Fox

Global warming leads to more demand for air-conditioning, which leads to more warming. Rinse, repeat, drown in melting ice caps. – Nathaniel Bullard (Sign up for his newsletter here.)

Americans are understandably furious about income inequality. One way to help: vigorously taxing the heirs of the super rich. – Noah Smith

Kickers

Reasons to hate an open floor plan. New releases in the missing-girl genre. Having babies on Mars will be a problem.

Note: Please send floor plans, suggestions and kicker ideas to Mark Gongloff at mgongloff1@bloomberg.net.

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