Happy Friday, Bulletin readers. Anti-media rhetoric leads to an unlawful threat against one newspaper. A single word cleared the Jacksonville shooter to legally buy guns. And tens of thousands of public schools in the United States have cops but no counselors. Those stories and more in your end-of-week roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
A California man was arrested for threatening to shoot Boston Globe employees. Robert Darrell Chain, 68, allegedly referred to the paper as “the enemy of the people,” a phrase also invoked by President Trump. On August 16, when the Globe participated in an industry-wide campaign in support of the First Amendment, Chain, who owns several guns, “threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head ‘later today, at 4 o’clock,’” federal prosecutors say. In all, he is accused of calling the newsroom and threatening staffers at least 14 times this month. He faces up to five years in prison.
One word allowed the Jacksonville shooter to buy guns. David Katz was treated at two mental institutions in 2007. But since his medical records don’t say whether his hospitalizations were “involuntary,” he wasn’t barred by federal law from buying guns. And he didn’t trigger a state gun ban because he stayed at each facility less than 30 days.
Millions of U.S. students attend schools staffed with cops but no counselor, social worker, or nurse. That finding is from the first in a series of reports by the American Civil Liberties Union on race, safety, and discipline in the taxpayer-funded public education system. Nationally, there are 27,000 sworn law enforcement officers in schools vs. 23,000 social workers. The ACLU says this disparity is important to consider “in light of calls for more police in schools.”
“Good people carry guns. And they will shoot you a lot. Leave people alone.” So said the sheriff of Florida’s Polk County in defense of an Uber driver who fatally shot a man who threatened him early Tuesday. The man, thinking his girlfriend was in the back seat, followed the Uber car and told the driver he had a pistol, a confrontation captured on dashcam video. The sheriff concluded that the Uber driver, who recently graduated from the police academy, should be shielded from prosecution by the state’s self-defense statute: “You have a right to protect yourself. This was the intent of the law.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods says its disappointing quarter wasn’t driven by its post-Parkland gun policies. The company reported a 4 percent drop in sales in the second quarter, partly pegging the decline on decisions by the athletic brand Under Armour to expand distribution to lower-priced competitors. CEO Ed Stack said the drop was expected, and that its “slow growth, low margin” hunting business was already sagging before the retailer announced after Parkland that it would no longer stock semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, and stop selling guns to anyone under 21 at its Field & Stream stores.
Miami-Dade police now have a gun removal unit tasked with disarming potentially dangerous people. While the squad’s first priority is enforcing the state’s new red flag law, officers also seek to forge closer relationships with 150 or so people most often the subject of 911 calls. The goal is to connect them to mental health services. One local behavioral healthcare provider refers to the unit’s members as “social workers with badges.”
A high school student in San Francisco unintentionally fired a handgun while playing with it in class. At least one person was wounded when the gun went off at Balboa High School on Thursday morning, but police did not reveal the exact nature of her injuries.
A California middle school teacher wanted for a road-rage incident was found with a loaded gun in his classroom. On Wednesday, San Jose police arrested Charles Ha So at the middle school where he taught for a February incident in which he snatched a fellow motorist’s cell phone after an argument. Arresting officers found a loaded handgun in his satchel.
An 8-year-old Ohio boy was grazed by a stray bullet as he slept. The bullet, fired a block away from the boy’s Columbus home on Tuesday night, hit a woman in the leg before piercing the boy’s bedroom wall. The child told the local Fox affiliate that the shooting was “really hurtful and it was really bleeding bad.” A neighbor was livid: “Put the guns down! We got kids out here and they need to grow up and change the world.”
The company behind the Madden video football game series donated $1 million to victims of the Jacksonville shooting. Electronic Arts says it also plans to establish a fund, The Jacksonville Tribute, so others can donate.
ONE LAST THING
When the law works as designed. The news we report on at The Trace often involves loopholes that enable people barred from owning guns to get their hands on one, sometimes with deadly consequences. But today we bring you a case from Pennsylvania in which gun laws worked as intended. Eric Whistler, who is serving an eight-to-24-year prison sentence for sexual assault and illegal gun possession, was told by a Superior Court judge this week that his mother can’t assume ownership of his collection of 29 guns, which was seized by police upon his arrest in 2015. The reason they were taken — and the reason he was slapped with illegal gun charges — is because he pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife in 2011. A domestic abuse conviction triggers a federal lifetime ban on gun ownership, and in Pennsylvania, anyone subject to the federal ban is also subject to a state ban. Those prohibitions will remain in effect when Whistler is released. And the judge ruled that the arsenal can’t be turned over to his mother because she never owned them. Nor did she want them — Whistler apparently volunteered her name without her consent.