Post Reports

Guns in the gym: The NRA’s charity arm raffles off weapons in American schools

Beth Reinhard on why the NRA is raffling off guns in American schools. Jason Rezaian examines Iran’s history of hostage-taking. And Joel Achenbach considers the uncertain fate of the universe.
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

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Auctioning off guns in American schools
Fundraising events put on by Friends of NRA netted more than $33 million for the National Rifle Association last year. The organization displayed and raffled off guns at these events — including one in a Kentucky school near a site of gun violence. 

Now, pockets of resistance to Friends of NRA are cropping up across the country as mass shootings are becoming more frequent and more deadly. And although NRA officials say only a small fraction of these events are held in schools, opponents have pressured all kinds of other venues to stop hosting these fundraisers that support shooting sports. 

A parent from one school that hosted a fundraiser reached out to reporter Beth Reinhard, who’s been covering the internal issues of the NRA and recent allegations of misspending by its top leadership. 

“They held this fundraiser at the high school last year, and there were guns in the gym,” Reinhard says. “Guns on display in the gym – actual firearms all over the bleachers that people could bid on. They were being raffled off to raise money for Friends of NRA.”

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A new kind of hostage crisis, 40 years later
Forty years after Iranian students took 52 American diplomats hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran holds more than a dozen dual and foreign nationals in prison under the guise of national security.

Countries such as the United States often refer to these hostages as “consular cases,” lending legitimacy to their capture. But Post columnist Jason Rezaian, who spent 18 months imprisoned on espionage charges in Iran, says these charges are usually bogus. 

“The regime doesn’t think of these people as threats,” Rezaian says. “They think of them as bargaining chips they can use later in negotiations with world powers.”

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‘It’s a big deal! It’s the universe!’
The universe is unimaginably big, and it keeps getting bigger. But astrophysicists can’t agree on how quickly it’s growing — and the more they study the issue, the more they disagree.

Some scientists call this a “crisis” in cosmology. Others, “the Hubble Constant tension.” 

“It looked like the scientific community was coming up with a firm number,” says science reporter Joel Achenbach. “But estimates by different techniques didn’t converge.”

Some theorists think that could mean that “new physics” is on the horizon. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.