Good morning, Bulletin readers. Several gun-related gatherings joined the cascading list of public events being cancelled due to COVID-19. Your Friday roundup continues below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The NRA cancelled its 2020 convention over coronavirus concerns. The National Rifle Association’s annual meeting was set for April 16 to 19 in Nashville. Hours after the governor of Tennessee declared a state of emergency because of the virus, the group announced it was pulling the plug on the gathering. NRA conventions typically draw crowds of around 70,000 gun rights faithful, according to the group; for conservative politicians and gun companies, they’ve become an important forum for pushing messages and products. Elsewhere, lawmakers in Rhode Island scrapped a public hearing on gun bills that was expected to draw a large crowd of gun rights supporters. In California, two Crossroads of the West gun shows — one this weekend and another next weekend — were nixed.
NEW from THE TRACE: Virginia is the latest state to fund local gun violence prevention. The package of gun safety measures headed into law there has garnered most of the attention, but the $3 million in grants to be administered by the new Virginia Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Fund could have a more immediate impact in communities with elevated shooting rates. The money “can fund solutions that have known, effective results, that are way less expensive than traditional crime control approaches,” one advocate said. Virginia becomes the eighth state to earmark dollars for community-based prevention efforts, Champe Barton reports.
Youth activists press for discussion of gun violence at first head-to-head Democratic debate. March For Our Lives is part of the coalition that wants moderators at Sunday’s debate to ask Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders about progressive issues they say have gotten short shrift during the Democratic primary so far, including gun violence. “There has not been a serious discussion in this election cycle on the issues that face our generation,” the groups said.
Republican Senator enters community gun violence report into Congressional record. Rand Paul’s action came a week after hearing concerns from community leaders and gun violence survivors about violent crime in Louisville, Kentucky. The report, from a local youth intervention nonprofit, details the impact violence has on children’s education. “Only personal stories such as these truly demonstrate the extreme toll taken on children exposed to violence,” Paul said.
An aggressive U.S. attorney adds unlicensed gun dealers to her crackdown. Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Texas, announced guilty pleas from three sellers who admitted to dealing guns at Texas gun shows without the license required for people who regularly peddle firearms. Some of the weapons wound up in the hands of convicted felons. As The Trace has reported, Cox has also brought rare federal charges against convicted abusers who own guns.
A gun reform group is suing Glock on behalf of a paralyzed gunshot survivor. Brady filed a federal suit against the Austrian gun maker for Carlos Travieso Jr., who was unintentionally shot by a fellow teen in Arizona in 2018. The suit alleges that the .9mm pistol should have contained safety features that would have prevented the gun from firing.
Philadelphia officials fret over proliferation of ghost guns. While homemade, untraceable firearms account for a sliver of gun seizures in the city, their prevalence is growing. Cops seized 95 of them in Philly in 2019, over six times the number the year before. Ten have been recovered so far this year. In January, a judge temporarily blocked a state policy directive that would regulate the main component used to make many ghost guns. What makes a gun a ghost gun? Here’s our guide. Why is law enforcement increasingly worried about them? This feature story by The Trace’s Alain Stephens makes that clear.
According to a tally by Everytown for Gun Safety, 11 school districts in four states have now passed resolutions requiring schools to provide parents with information about safe gun storage.