Good morning, Bulletin readers. Studies show that civil gun seizures have been effective at preventing suicides, but it’s been less clear whether they can prevent mass shootings. New research provides some answers.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: California’s red flag law may have prevented mass shootings there, a study found. Researchers from the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis examined 21 cases in the state between 2016 and 2018 in which gun violence restraining orders were issued to legally seize firearms after mass shooting threats. As of this month, none of the threatened shootings had occurred, nor had any of the subjects of the orders committed other acts of fatal gun violence, according to the authors. Alex Yablon looked into the findings.
“Recess rallies” to end gun violence were held in every state over the weekend. Gun reform advocates urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call lawmakers back from summer recess to consider a background check bill that’s been stalled in the chamber since February. (The demonstrations were co-organized by Everytown for Gun Safety, whose nonpolitical arm makes grants to The Trace. Here’s our full list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)
The New York attorney general denied the NRA’s request to have its attorneys at Oliver North’s deposition. The National Rifle Association filed a petition ahead of this week’s questioning of its former president, who resigned in April after a public power struggle with CEO Wayne LaPierre. “The NRA’s scare tactics simply won’t work here,” said Attorney General Letitia James after the denial. Her office is looking into the NRA’s tax-exempt status, following The Trace’s reporting about financial misdeeds at the gun group.
Meanwhile, rival gun rights groups are aiming to gain new members amid the NRA’s turmoil. Bad press for the NRA has provided a recruitment opportunity for Gun Owners of America, the National Association for Gun Rights, and the Second Amendment Foundation, Politico reported. The groups are hiring grassroots advocates to attract new members, and each has reported an increase in new donations. “As an organization, we don’t use Gucci-loafered lobbyists in Washington, D.C., in $200,000 wardrobes,” said the president of the National Association for Gun Rights.
NEW from THE TRACE: New Mexico’s high rate of youth suicide. Aurra Gardner was one of 16 teens who ended their lives with a firearm in the state in 2017. It has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country — as well as one of the highest rates of gun ownership. State health professionals, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies have tried to address the issue, but efforts remain fragmented and uncoordinated. Nick Pachelli investigates Aurra’s case and the broader phenomenon in a new feature published in partnership with Searchlight New Mexico.
The sister of an NYPD officer who died by suicide said his guns were taken away — then returned. Eileen Echeverria, the sister of Robert Echeverria, 56, who fatally shot himself last week, told CNN that she informed the department half a dozen times over the last seven years that her brother was suicidal, most recently in June. He was twice sent for a psychiatric evaluation, which resulted in the seizure of his guns, but they were returned days later. An NYPD spokesperson said the department was investigating the case.
Two first-graders in Ohio were able to access a gun in a school district office. A district transportation director in Sparta, who is authorized to carry a pistol in accordance with the Highland Local School District’s year-old concealed carry program, left her grandson and the son of a colleague unattended for a few minutes. When she returned, they’d taken the gun from an unlocked case. The incident occurred in March, but only recently came to light.
A Maryland teen was shot and killed six days before he was to start college. Damion Callery Jr., 18, who was set to attend Bowie State University, was killed outside his Burtonsville home on Saturday. His father called him “a shining light.”
ONE LAST THING
Hundreds of strangers showed up for El Paso victim’s funeral. Antonio Bosco lost his wife of 22 years, Margie Reckard, in the Walmart shooting in El Paso on August 3. He’s spent every day since then at a makeshift memorial outside the store, even sleeping there on occasion. The couple lived a mostly solitary life in Texas, and Bosco has no remaining family, so he opened her funeral to the public so he wouldn’t have to mourn alone. And the public responded. Reckard’s viewing and funeral this past weekend were attended by hundreds of mourners, most of whom were strangers. Bosco greeted some of them as they waited in line in the 100-degree heat to offer their condolences. “You are not alone,” some people told him. “We’re your family now.” Local photographer Ivan Pierre Aguirre captured Bosco as he bid farewell to his wife, below.