Good morning, Bulletin readers. As America awaits the White House’s plan for preventing mass shootings, Democrats are pushing a new message on President Trump.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Democratic leaders try appealing to President Trump’s ego on gun background checks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement on Sunday that if the president endorses the universal background check bill passed by the House in February, “We would both join him for a historic signing ceremony at the Rose Garden.” The White House will reportedly declare its intentions on any new gun legislation as soon as this week, but the contents of its package remain “a mystery.”
One new idea Trump is enamored with: A phone app for conducting background checks on private sales. The theoretical app would be connected to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), say senators who’ve spoken with the president. Feasibility is a concern, as The Washington Post notes: “Lawmakers and congressional aides have pointed out to the White House potential flaws in the proposal, such as security issues with the app and how it would affect how law enforcement officials access records on gun ownership.”
Beto O’Rourke defended his aggressive position on assault weapons. The 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate grabbed headlines with his call for a mandatory federal buyback of assault-style weapons at last week’s debate. At a campaign stop this weekend, he dismissed critics who say his proposal plays into the hands of Republicans who depict Democrats as hell-bent on taking guns away from their owners, arguing that more moderate proposals have not worked. “Every single time that we put our best foot forward and move forward in the spirit of consensus and compromise and start in that middle position, we lose it.” O’Rourke added, “If we start in a timid, fearful, apologetic way, we’re going to get the same result that we got in the last 30 years, which is literally, absolutely nothing.”
Child gun deaths are surging in Denver. Fifteen people under 18 have been fatally shot in the Colorado city since January 2018. Police and public and health officials blame the changing structure of gangs, easy access to guns, and socioeconomic and racial inequality. A report last week by Denver Public Health urged city officials to distribute gun locks and safes. “Access to firearms is the most important factor influencing youth suicide and homicide,” they wrote. “Approximately 90% of youth who complete suicide use a gun found in the home.”
Three kids were shot, one fatally, with unsecured guns in Texas on Sunday. Truth Albright, 4, was fatally shot by his brother in Fort Worth on Sunday morning, police said. Later that day, two children were shot in separate incidents in Arlington: A 6-year-old was shot in the head with a rifle by his 10-year-old brother, and an 8-year-old was shot in the buttocks with an Uzi or Mac-10-style weapon.
Our Since Parkland project won an Online Journalism Award. Since Parkland enlisted student journalists to profile 1,200 kids and teens who were shot and killed in the United States in the 12 months after the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This weekend, the package won the Pro-Am Student Award from the Online News Association at its annual convention in New Orleans. The project was published in partnership with McClatchy and the Miami Herald. You can revisit the series here.
ONE LAST THING
A pamphlet on surviving an active shooter was spotted in a Michigan synagogue. New York Times culture reporter Katherine Rosman tweeted a photo a friend posted on Facebook. The flyer directs worshippers at an unnamed Ann Arbor synagogue to stop their prayers and “run, hide, fight, and call 911” in the event of an active shooter. “It took my breath away,” Rosman wrote.