Good morning, Bulletin readers. One federal bill being pushed by Democrats would strengthen the vetting for gun buyers. Another seeks to prevent the spread of a technology that could undermine any tighter restrictions. Your end-of-week roundup begins below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Handgun purchase licenses get a double boost. A group of House and Senate Democrats on Thursday introduced a bill that would provide grants to states that adopt “permit-to-purchase” laws, which go beyond standard gun background checks by requiring people to get licensed by law enforcement before buying pistols. The legislation coincides with a new study finding that handgun purchase licenses have been effective in reducing homicides and suicides. Only nine states, plus Washington, D.C., have such systems in place. Alex Yablon has the rundown.
Two concealed carriers in Florida fatally shot each other in a road-rage incident. One of the drivers slowed down to try to apologize to the car he’d cut off in Davie. The other motorist got out of the car and shot him. The first victim, a Marine veteran, fired back before dying at the scene. The second later died in a hospital and would have been charged with murder had he survived, police said.
New Jersey lawmakers are weighing an update to a problematic 2002 smart-gun law. The measure considered by the state Assembly yesterday would repeal a law intended to require retailers in the state to shift to only stocking smart guns after they hit the American market. The mandate drew irate pushback by some gun rights hardliners and may have inadvertently stifled the development of smart guns. The new bill would instead only require retailers to offer at least one model of smart gun. As Alex Yablon reported Monday, most gun owners say they support smart guns in the abstract, but are still hesitant to adopt the technology.
Stag Arms says it will be the next gunmaker to leave the Northeast. The Connecticut company is planning to relocate to a state that offers “significant support for the firearms industry.” Stag is one of several gun manufacturers to move all or part of its operations out of the state since Connecticut began tightening gun laws following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Democratic Governor Ned Lamont signed a new safe gun storage law yesterday.
Democrats on the Hill re-introduced a ban on DIY gun blueprints. U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Robert Menendez and Representative Ted Deutch unveiled the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, which would prohibit the online distribution of blueprints and instructions that allow people to manufacture their own unserialized, untraceable weapons. Senate Dems introduced the same measure last year after the Trump Justice Department overturned Obama-era guidelines against the online distribution of schematics for so-called ghost guns.
A school principal in Missouri was put on leave after tweeting gun pics to a Parkland survivor. The unidentified school official from Platte County replied to a recent tweet by survivor-turned-gun reformer David Hogg with photos of himself and his children shooting guns. “We understand why the public response has been strong with regard to student safety in our nation’s schools,” the district said in a statement.
ONE LAST THING
Vox visualized mass shootings in America. So far in 2019, at least 191 people have been killed and 656 wounded in 173 mass shootings, which the news outlet defines as events resulting in four or more victims. All but five states have experienced a mass shooting since 2013. Despite the news coverage they receive, mass shootings only account for 2 percent of annual gun deaths in the United States. In total gun violence fatalities, our country remains an outlier, a disparity vividly captured in this chart.