Good morning, Bulletin readers. As state legislatures around the country wrap up their 2019 sessions, we have a bunch of developments to catch you up on. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of congresspersons is making a new push to incentivize one particular gun violence prevention tool. Your end-of-week briefing begins below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
A bipartisan bill in Congress would incentivize states to pass red flag laws. Representative Ted Deutch of Florida reintroduced the legislation on Thursday, which would offer grants to states that have laws for extreme risk protection orders. The measures allow for people who have legally purchased firearms to be disarmed if they are determined to be a danger to themselves or others. The bill was first unveiled last year, but failed to advance.
Illinois lawmakers move forward with a plan to require fingerprints for gun background checks. The legislation would overhaul the screening of residents applying for a Firearm Owners Identification card, which is necessary to buy a gun and ammunition in the state. The proposal is a response to the Aurora workplace shooting in February, whose perpetrator bought a gun after his background check didn’t detect an out-of-state felony conviction. As The Trace has reported, research suggests that the failure to run fingerprints as part of background checks may miss more than 10 percent of people with criminal histories. “It’s a massive hole,” a former ATF agent told us.
Maria Butina is appealing her 18-month sentence. Lawyers for the NRA-linked Russian national, who pleaded guilty in December to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, filed the appeal on Wednesday. According to court documents, she is being held in a federal prison in Oklahoma.
A student wounded in last week’s school shooting in Colorado managed to call his mother while restraining one of the gunmen. Joshua Jones, 18, was shot twice in the leg after he and two other students, Kendrick Castillo and Brendan Bialy, tackled one of the shooters. Castillo, who was also shot, died at the scene. While they waited for police, Bialy retrieved Jones’s cell phone and helped him call his mother. The perpetrators, ages 16 and 18, will be tried as adults.
Vermont lawmakers passed a bill that establishes a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases — including at gun shows. The measure, which originated in the state Senate, passed the House on Wednesday, but did not receive enough votes to override a potential veto. Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, hasn’t said if he will sign it.
Two gun control bills in Minnesota met opposition from Republican lawmakers. Legislation that would have expanded background checks to private gun sales and established a red flag law failed to advance out of committee on a party-line vote earlier this week.
A North Carolina teacher took a gun from a student — then gave it back. An educator at Paisley Magnet School in Winston-Salem was arrested earlier this week for allegedly taking a gun that a student had brought to class last month and allowing the juvenile to retrieve it at the end of the school day. A day before the incident, a gun-related threat had been made against the school on Snapchat. The teacher was charged with helping a minor possess a firearm on school property.
A Wisconsin gun store was sued by an injured police officer for facilitating a straw purchase. Officer Brandon Baranowski filed suit against The Shooters Shop of West Allis three years after he was shot with a gun sold there in 2014. In addition to monetary damages, the suit demands that the shop take steps to prevent unlawful sales to straw purchasers. From The Trace archives: A year after the gun that shot Baranowski was sold, Elizabeth Van Brocklin asked the manager of The Shooters Shop how he spotted the straw purchasers who plagued a notorious bad apple gun dealer nearby. “I’ve got my guard up,” he told her.
A man was fatally struck by a stray bullet while checking his mail in Richmond, California. The death of Miguel Ramirez, 57, on Tuesday was one of six shootings in a three-day span that left another person dead and three wounded. Before the outbreak, the northern California city hadn’t recorded a shooting in more than a month.
ONE LAST THING
A 7-year-old in Kansas City, Missouri, is using her rap skills to try to convince people to put the guns down. Ava Foster, 7, who goes by “Lil Ava,” has been rapping since she was a toddler, and has amassed more than 5,000 followers on Instagram. Lately, she’s used her rhymes to describe the gun violence around her. In one song, “Senseless,” she raps about school shootings:
Kids killing kids in class / School ain’t safe no more / They’re shooting people they hate / As they’re running out the door. How did they get these guns / Sometimes from a parent / Come on y’all / Lock your guns / You have to be more careful.
Foster wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Her mother told a local news station: “I know some people think kids don’t know what’s going on, but it’s a different day and age. These kids are very advanced and they know what’s going on.”