Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s edition: Chicago’s new mayor takes ownership of reducing shootings. One state’s solution to keeping guns out of kids’ hands inspires a Congressional counterpart. And the math says no, you are not imagining that school shootings are more frequent.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Chicago’s new mayor declares reducing gun violence her top priority. “Public safety must not be a commodity that is only available to the wealthy,” argued Lori Lightfoot in her inaugural address on Monday, adding, “for me, there is no higher calling than restoring safety and peace in our neighborhoods.” Her plan for decreasing shootings includes putting a deputy mayor in charge of a new City Hall office that “will seek to mobilize the entire city behind a unified strategy to prevent violence and promote public safety.”
A bill in Congress would set national standards for safe gun storage. “Ethan’s Law” is modeled after similar legislation in Connecticut that requires gun owners to lock up their weapons. The federal version would provide incentives for states to adopt their own safe storage requirements. It’s named for Ethan Song, a Connecticut boy who unintentionally killed himself last year with a loaded gun he found at his friend’s home. A pervasive risk: A study published last year estimated that 4.6 million American children live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns. A potentially simple fix: Another study projected that if just 20 percent more households with children secured their guns, 99 young lives could be saved in a year.
New York lawmakers have voted to ban 3D-printed firearms. “Ghost guns” made with 3D printers may soon be outlawed in New York State under a measure headed to the desk of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to sign it. It’s one of several gun bills passed this legislative session, including a red flag law and a bump stock ban.
House Democrats are taking money from a gun industry lobbyist. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $26,250 last month from defense industry lobbyist Michael Herson, new Federal Election Commission filings show. Herson recently signed a contract with the gun manufacturer Sig Sauer in an effort to secure military contracts.
A group of faith leaders in Mobile, Alabama, is starting an anti-gun violence initiative. Members of Faith in Action Mobile were inspired by a community program in Richmond, California, that significantly cut shootings there. As the group courts the mayor’s office for funding and support, they’re beginning their outreach by taking biweekly night walks in communities affected by gun violence. “We want to make sure our young people especially know that people in their community care for them,” one pastor said.
The city of Jacksonville, Florida, opened a new crime gun intelligence center. The facility unveiled Tuesday will use tools like the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) and ShotSpotter with hopes to solve shootings more quickly. “Our shared efforts to streamline the linked intelligence will bring justice even faster,” a representative from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. NIBIN in a nutshell: The high-powered ballistics database helps police departments across the country identify shooters. Experts say it has the potential to connect crimes committed with the same weapon.
A man was arrested for threatening a shooting at YouTube’s headquarters. Police said the 35-year-old Utah man made several threats against YouTube employees before driving with a gun to the Bay Area, where the company is headquartered. He was arrested on Saturday and charged with making terroristic threats. Last April, a woman shot three employees at YouTube’s headquarters before killing herself.
A Florida elementary school teacher brought a loaded gun to school. The 49-year-old woman was arrested Monday in a suburb of Tampa after police discovered a handgun and two knives in her backpack. Asked why she brought the weapons to school, she told reporters, “Ask DeSantis. Ask your governor.” Earlier this month, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing armed teachers through an expansion of the state’s school guardian program.
ONE LAST THING
School shootings are still rare, but they’ve become more frequent. That’s the takeaway from an analysis of active shooter incidents at K-12 schools by the public radio collaborative Guns & America. Using a database maintained by the Navy’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, they found that the average number of days between school shootings has decreased. Before 2014, it was 124 days. Now it’s closer to 77. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, the United States has not come close to a full year without a school shooting.