Hello, readers. Reach for those bookmark buttons: We’ve got one, two, three, four Trace originals for you today. Those links, plus the latest on the Santa Fe school shooting, round out today’s briefing.

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New from The Trace: Aftermath, our new podcast collaboration, premieres today. In the first episode, a woman who was shot by her stepfather when she was 13 shares her five-decade journey of recovery. In episode two, hear about how a shooting rampage at a country music concert brought two best friends even closer. Aftermath is a partnership of The Trace’s Elizabeth Van Brocklin and the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s Amber Hunt and is distributed with help from the USA Today Network. Follow this link to subscribe via iTunes.

Roughly 4.6 million American kids live alongside unlocked, loaded guns. Trace contributor Nora Biette-Timmons digs into the data on safe firearms storage, and the lack thereof in some homes, including just how many American children live in households where adults fail to safely store their firearms.

Texas commences roundtables on school safety. Governor Greg Abbott has invited lawmakers to meet with students, educators, and advocates at the state Capitol this week to discuss a range of issues, including school security, mental health, bullying, and gun policy.

Governor Abbott’s re-election campaign scrapped a plan to give away a shotgun. The contest drew controversy after Friday’s attack.

The school resource officer who was shot while rushing the gunman at Santa Fe High School is still fighting for his life. Officer John Barnes was wounded when he ran toward the sound of gunfire on Friday. Since then, his heart has stopped twice and his kidney function is still “in peril,” according to his stepfather. Officer Barnes, whose lifelong dream was to be a cop, has been hailed as a hero by his colleagues, friends, and family for his actions last week.

The explosives found on the campus of Santa Fe High School on Friday were functional, law enforcement officials now say. Authorities had previously said that the devices were duds incapable of inflicting harm.

Oliver North, the incoming president of the National Rifle Association, blames school shootings on a “culture of violence.” He used to promote violent video games. The Washington Post spots the apparent hypocrisy, noting that North once appeared in an ad campaign for “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” an edition of the controversial first-person shooter franchise. “I don’t think the average American grasps how violent war is about to become,” he says in one of the promos.

Over the past school year, more than 30 guns have been confiscated on K-12 campuses in Atlanta. Records from the five largest metro-Atlanta school districts document at least 33 guns confiscated by police since the start of the school year. Nine of those were confiscated after the Parkland shooting. From The Trace archives: In the 2015–2016 academic year, The Trace found 269 instances of students caught with guns on school grounds.

A former education secretary called for a student strike for gun reform. “Maybe it’s time for 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws,” Arne Duncan tweeted on FridayRelated: Students are organizing a nationwide die-in day on June 12. On the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, organizers are calling for protests “at the [Capitol] and anywhere with lethal legislative inaction.

Microsoft’s co-founder donated a million dollars to a gun safety initiative in Washington State. The ballot measure would raise the minimum purchase age and strengthen background checks for semiautomatic rifles, create standards for safe storage, and mandate that gun buyers be notified of the risks of firearm ownership. In a statement on Twitter announcing his donation, Paul Allen called the measure “a reasonable and necessary measure that will improve the safety of our schools and our communities.” The initiative needs 259,000 signatures of registered Washington voters to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. In recent election cycles, Washington approved universal background checks and extreme-risk protection orders via popular vote.

The 72 hours after the Santa Fe shooting were some of the most violent this year. Gun Violence Archive notes that 88 people were killed by gunfire and another 222 were injured in the three days immediately following the shooting.


Four women open up about the trauma of gun violence. To learn more about the psychological toll of the gun violence epidemic, Elizabeth Van Brocklin, in collaboration with Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health magazines, spoke with four survivors about how their lives were changed by a bullet, and what they’ve done to heal. The women told her about their nightmares, depression, and sleeplessness. They also shared how they’ve used counseling, advocacy, and volunteering to help ease their pain. Read their stories here.