Good morning, Bulletin readers. Six years on from a massive gun recall, Remington is still facing safety complaints. Gun lobby groups were dealt a setback in their attempt to keep California gun stores open. And Washington joined Virginia as the latest state to earmark funds for community violence prevention. Those stories and more, below.
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Gun owners say Remington rifles are still defective. For more than a decade, Remington Arms has faced allegations that its popular Model 700 rifle can fire without pulling the trigger. In 2014, under the terms of a landmark class-action settlement, the gunmaker recalled 7.5 million rifles and offered to repair them for free. But several gun owners who had their rifles fixed say their weapons are still malfunctioning, according to product service reports submitted to the company and obtained by CNBC. “I am now afraid to use this gun because of the safety issue involved,” said one. Meanwhile, the April 23 deadline to file a claim under the settlement is fast approaching — and the company has yet to push it back despite more than 20 of its service centers being closed due to the pandemic.
ICYMI: In 2018, Trace contributor Casey Parks profiled a Mississippi man who helped convict his older son for shooting his younger son with a Remington Model 700 rifle — and later came to believe that the gun had fired on its own.
NRA dealt setback in lawsuit challenging California’s order to close gun stores. A U.S. District Judge denied an attempt by the National Rifle Association, along with other gun rights groups and gun store owners, to secure a temporary restraining order preventing local officials in California from ordering firearms retailers closed during the pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom, who issued a stay-at-home order last month, had deferred to local officials on whether stores should close. The suit was brought by the NRA, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, and several gun retailers, and names Newsom as a defendant alongside the Los Angeles mayor, the L.A. County Sheriff, and two state public health officials.
Washington State earmarks over $1 million for violence prevention. The state budget, signed by Governor Jay Inslee on Friday, allots $600,000 in local law enforcement grants to implement violence intervention programs in areas deemed a high risk for gun violence. The funding survived $235 million dollars of line-item budget vetoes that the governor cited as necessary due to coronavirus-related cuts. The budget also appropriates $421,000 for an Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, a new state-funded agency that supports community-based prevention efforts. Go deeper: Last month, Champe Barton reported on a similar program in Virginia.
Gun owners urge firearm safety with new online tools. The gun rights group Open Source Defense is organizing a virtual safety course that pairs first-time buyers with experienced gun owners. “I want to be a good ambassador for the Second Amendment and for firearms owners,” the group’s co-founder told Guns & America. And this week, Project ChildSafe, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, launched its own tools directed at new gun owners, including a safety and storage quiz to test best practices. Related: Last month, Trace reporter Alain Stephens prepared this primer for first-time buyers.
New Jersey mayor implements curfew to combat COVID-19 — and stem gun violence. Citing four shootings on Sunday that left two people dead and six others wounded, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora ordered residents to be home and businesses to be closed by 8 p.m. “While our first-responders are working at full capacity, this reckless and foolish behavior must end,” he said.
DOJ report calls for a consistent definition of mass shootings — and a new shooting database. Researchers from the National Institute of Justice reviewed 44 studies of multiple-casualty shootings and recommended that a mass shooting be defined as “an incident where there is an evident premeditated intent to shoot to kill, regardless of the number of actual fatalities or injuries.” They also called for the creation of a single centralized database to track such shootings given the “lack of uniform, reliable data sources.”
78 — the percentage of gun deaths in Colorado that were suicides prior to the pandemic, according to the Denver District Attorney’s Office. Amid an unprecedented gun-buying wave, the office has been encouraging safe storage efforts. — KDVR