Good morning, Bulletin readers. Something else that happened in Washington yesterday: The attorney general unveiled a plan to increase enforcement of some federal gun laws. Those details lead your Thursday roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The DOJ unveils Project Guardian. Attorney General William Barr announced a new five-point plan to step up enforcement of existing gun laws. A central provision calls for state attorneys general to create guidelines for prosecuting people banned from owning guns who “lie and try” to buy them anyway from licensed firearm dealers and directs the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to provide a list of such violators to state law enforcement officials. The package also calls for better reporting on background check denials on the basis of mental health, coordinated prosecution of gun crimes, improved information sharing among law enforcement, and better coordination of crime gun intelligence. The plan stopped short of more aggressive Justice Department proposals floated over the summer, including restricting gun access to people on the terrorist watch list or expediting capital punishment for mass shooters. Gun violence prevention groups say new laws are still needed: Barr’s strategy makes “no serious effort to address the supply of guns and how they fall into the hands of individuals who have proven themselves a danger to themselves or to others,” the president of Brady told The New York Times.
The majority of lone-wolf domestic terror attacks are perpetrated with legally purchased firearms. The FBI studied 52 people who “attempted or completed an act of lethal violence in furtherance of an identified social, political, or ideological goal” between 1972 and 2015 and found that 65 percent of them used firearms. Nearly 70 percent of those shooters legally acquired their guns, while almost half were motivated by anti-government or racially motivated extremism.
One of the world’s biggest gunmakers is splitting into two public companies. American Outdoor Brands is becoming Smith & Wesson Brands, which will focus on guns, and AOB, which will deal with outdoor products and accessories. “There have been significant changes in the political climate as well as the economic, investing, and insurance markets since we embarked upon what we believe have been our very successful diversification efforts,” the company’s chairman said in a statement.
Gun suicide isn’t just a problem for service members, but for their families, as well. A new analysis from the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence found that in 2017, guns were used in 49 percent of suicides of female military spouses, compared to 31 percent of suicides among women in the general population. In general, the gun suicide rate is much higher among veterans than it is among the civilian population.
A Philadelphia trauma center shuttered this summer just as gun homicides in the city began ramping up. Two criminologists told The Appeal that the closure of Hahnemann University Hospital and its Level 1 trauma center is likely resulting in more gunshot deaths as victims have to travel farther for care. ICYMI: Last month, The Trace, Measure of America, and THE CITY identified a trauma desert in New York City, where gunshot patients in Queens are at a greater risk of dying than other city residents.
Senate Democrats introduced a bill reauthorizing funding for the Violence Against Women Act. The funding reauthorization passed by the House in April includes provisions to prevent stalkers and abusive dating partners from possessing guns. On Wednesday, all 47 Democratic senators introduced a Senate companion bill. The GOP-led Senate has not taken up the measure.
A teacher in Washington State was arrested for threatening a shooting. The suspect, a 58-year-old geometry teacher at a high school southeast of Tacoma, was arrested Wednesday after threatening to shoot students and a school staffer. Police do not believe she has access to guns.
At least 190 current and former youth football players under the age of 25 have been fatally shot since 2017. This year alone, 32 youth football players under 18 have been shot and killed. —SBNation