Good morning, Bulletin readers. In your end-of-week briefing: Deaths among school-age children are on the rise, an active shooter drill in Indiana allegedly left teachers injured, and local leaders in Pittsburgh think they may have found a way to pass gun reform and stave off lawsuits.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Gun deaths among school-age children have increased in the last decade. A study published Thursday in the American Journal of Medicine found that 38,942 kids aged 5 to 18 were fatally shot in the United States between 1999 and 2017. The authors noted a steep rise in deaths among black children beginning in 2013. The study’s lead researcher put the toll in perspective: “In 2017, there were 144 police officers who died in the line of duty and about 1,000 active-duty military throughout the world who died, whereas 2,462 school-age children were killed by firearms.” ICYMI: Our “Since Parkland” project profiled 1,200 kids aged 18 and younger killed by guns in the United States in the year after the Parkland shooting.
Indiana teachers were “shot execution style” during an active shooter drill. “Welts appeared, and blood was drawn” from some of the educators, the Indiana State Teachers Association alleged in a tweetstorm. A member of the group separately told the state Senate’s Education Committee that teachers at an elementary school reported being shot with pellet guns. The group called for legislation that places “reasonable limits” on such drills.
Schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, remain closed for a second day following an online threat. Police on Wednesday were tipped off to a Reddit post that threatened an “ethnic cleansing” in the form of a shooting at Charlottesville High School. The post encouraged white students to stay home from school. “We do not tolerate hate or racism,” the school district said in a message. “We are in this together, and a threat against one is a threat against all.”
College journalists break down Florida’s efforts to arm teachers. As lawmakers consider whether to expand the state’s armed guardian program, journalism students at the University of Florida, working with The Tampa Bay Times, unearthed some revelations about the program: School guardians must complete at least 144 hours of training, which is 626 fewer hours than police officers; and guardians in some counties buy their own guns, while in others, the sheriff foots the bill. More takeaways here.
A second lawsuit stemming from the Aurora workplace shooting has been filed against the Illinois State Police. The family of Vicente Juarez, who was one of five people killed at a manufacturing business in a Chicago suburb last month, filed a lawsuit in the Illinois Court of Claims on Wednesday alleging that the State Police were negligent in issuing a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card to the shooter, who had a felony conviction in another state. The suit also claims the State Police failed to confiscate his weapons. A similar lawsuit was filed by a survivor of the shooting earlier this month.
Lawmakers in Arkansas pulled a “guns everywhere” bill just before a vote. A measure that would have allowed concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns into most public places, including K-12 schools and municipal buildings, was withdrawn by its Republican sponsor earlier this week. Several groups had testified against the proposal, and two members of the House Judiciary Committee who had favored the bill switched to opposing it.
ONE LAST THING
Gun reform-minded city councilmembers in Pittsburgh think they have found a way around the state’s pre-emption law. Two months after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, the mayor and City Council introduced a raft of gun reform bills, including bans on 37 types of semiautomatic weapons. But Pennsylvania is among the 45 states that prohibit cities from crafting their own gun regulations. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported this week that some keen-eyed city lawmakers identified a possible path forward: The statute bars municipalities from regulating the “possession and transport” of firearms, but not their use. So councilmembers introduced amendments to their gun reform package that would ban the use of the aforementioned weapons and devices. “It’s different than an outright ban,” said Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFire PA. “But they’re trying to do what they can, given the current state of the law and the way cities are constrained.”