Good morning, Bulletin readers. In new articles, we look at two knock-on effects of coronavirus: In the first, a physician describes the harrowing triage decisions that may await trauma wards in cities where COVID-19 cases are spiking and shootings persist. In the other, experts describe a dangerous new normal for domestic abuse victims.
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Five people, including a 1-year-old, were shot in Philadelphia. Two teenagers were among the wounded when someone opened fire during a birthday celebration held despite the state’s temporary ban on public gatherings. The mayor seized on the incident to call on District Attorney Larry Krasner to prosecute all gun charges amid the pandemic. Krasner replied that his office “has not declined to charge a single individual arrested by police during the COVID-19 emergency for a shooting, homicide, or other violent crime.” In January, we explored Krasner’s policy of diverting some illegal gun possession cases to the federal court system.
Elsewhere in Pennsylvania: A coughing fit allegedly led to gunfire. Police say a 53-year-old man confronted a motorist who coughed without covering his mouth in a convenience store parking lot in Johnstown. The argument sparked a physical confrontation, and the coughing man opened fire, officials said. No one was injured, but both men were arrested for assault.
State and local officials reopen gun stores in the wake of Trump administration’s advisory. Nonbinding guidance issued over the weekend by the federal Department of Homeland Security added gun industry workers to the list of “essential” personnel who should be excluded from stay-at-home rules and mandatory business closures. Pro-gun groups lobbied for the exemption, and since the advisory went out, we’ve tracked several reversals of orders to shutter gun shops:
- Massachusetts quietly added gun industry workers to its list of essential services. The governor’s stay-at-home order previously required gun stores to close.
- The Los Angeles County sheriff relented on gun closures. Alex Villanueva strongly advocated for shuttering gun stores after California Governor Gavin Newsom officially deferred to local officials on how gun business would be affected by his stay-at-home order. But Villanueva is now backing off, citing the DHS guidance.
- Earlier this week, New Jersey’s governor cited the same guidance in his own reversal.
As of now, just four states are still requiring gun stores to close.
Citing coronavirus fears, a white nationalist was granted bail on domestic violence and gun charges. Augustus Sol Invictus faced prosecution for allegedly holding a gun to his wife’s head. A judge in North Carolina has set bail at $10,000 and cleared him for release. The Informant, which tracks American extremism, describes Invictus as “a prominent figure in the racist ‘alt-right’ movement” who spoke at the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Armed teachers in Ohio need more training, appeals court rules. The five-year-old FASTER Saves Lives program, run by the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, offers training for educators who want to carry guns on school campuses. Now, a court decision raises questions about its compliance with state laws. In the case, a judge ruled that teachers and administrators who want to go armed in the Madison Local Schools district must have “more than 700 hours of training or 20 years of peace officer experience.” FASTER’s workshops span 24 hours over three days. (The appellants were represented by Everytown Law, a division of Everytown for Gun Safety, whose nonpolitical Support Fund provides grants to The Trace. Here’s our list of major donors and our policy on editorial independence.)
NEW FROM THE TRACE
A trauma surgeon fears for shooting victims as virus slams hospitals. With coronavirus cases multiplying in his city, Dallas doctor Niladri Basu worries about how he and his colleagues will care for gunshot patients when ambulance wait times grow and medical supplies become scarce. Basu spoke to Champe Barton about how his hospital has been preparing to handle the dual crises. More: In normal times, roughly 220 people per day go to an emergency room with gunshot injuries in the United States. About a quarter of them wind up in the intensive care unit. “We love taking care of patients, but each patient injured by firearms admitted to the intensive care unit is its own tragedy,” writes a Philadelphia physician in a New York Times op-ed published this morning. “Every one of these I.C.U. admissions is preventable, because every one of these injuries is preventable.”
A surge in gun sales and stay-at-home orders are a dangerous mix for
domestic violence. Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, tells Ann Givens that financial anxieties, close quarters, and health concerns each add extra stress to a home and are associated with a higher risk of abuse. Add skyrocketing gun sales to the mix, and Ray-Jones says there’s serious reason to worry about victims’ safety. Read the story here.
As of Monday, at least 500 Detroit Police officers were quarantined due to the coronavirus. — The New York Times