Good morning, Bulletin readers. When Illinois lawmakers legalized recreational marijuana last month, they earmarked a portion of the tax proceeds for anti-violence efforts in underprivileged neighborhoods. Our story on that novel funding approach leads your end-of-week roundup.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Legal weed could send millions of dollars to Illinois’s violence prevention groups. Illinois lawmakers approved a bill to legalize recreational marijuana last month that designates a sizable share of the state’s expected revenues for anti-violence efforts in underserved neighborhoods. Service providers say the move could inject tens of millions of dollars into cash-strapped community programs. “We’re on the cusp of something really spectacular,” one violence prevention worker told Brian Freskos. Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker has been a vocal champion of marijuana legalization and is expected to sign the bill.
Federal weapons prosecutions are up a fifth straight year. The Justice Department reported more than 6,500 gun prosecutions during the first seven months of fiscal year 2019, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. That’s an 11 percent increase over the same period last year, and a nearly 69 percent hike over five years ago. The Eastern District of Missouri, which includes St. Louis, led the nation with 403. From the Trace archives: Mark Obbie wrote in 2017 why aggressive federal gun prosecutions haven’t kept the city from ranking as America’s murder capital.
More Americans were fatally shot by early March of this year than died on D-Day. On 75th anniversary of D-Day yesterday, The Washington Post calculated that as of March 6, U.S. gun violence deaths in 2019, excluding suicides, had already surpassed the 2,501 Americans killed storming the beaches of Normandy. American gun violence deaths this year surpassed all WWII Allied soldiers’ deaths (4,414) by late April.
Every shooting that claimed 10 or more lives over the last two decades was perpetrated with legally acquired guns. That’s according to an ABC News analysis, which also found that specific gun reform legislation, like bump stock bans and red flag laws, might have prevented at least six of the 17 documented shootings.
The governor of Texas signed a bill that removes the limit on the number of armed teachers in schools. The legislation, approved by Republican Governor Bill Abbott on Thursday, also expands mental health services for students.
The sponsor of Florida’s guns-in-schools law says teachers could be criminally charged for not intervening in a shooting. “Whether it’s involving a firearm or not, if there’s an employee who did not do everything in their power to protect students in that situation, they would be opened up to facing those kinds of charges,” state Senator Manny Diaz told The Tampa Bay Times. Earlier this week, a former school resource officer in Parkland was charged with several felonies for his inaction during last year’s shooting.
The city of Cincinnati is suing Ohio for the right to enact its own gun laws. The city filed a lawsuit on Thursday to block a new law that allows people or groups to sue cities that enact stricter gun laws than the state. The city of Columbus sued to block the law in March.
Four teenagers have been killed by gunfire in Dallas within the last week. On Tuesday, Malik Turner, 13, was struck by a stray bullet while walking out of a gas station. Earlier that day, Leroy Hawkins III, 17, who’d just graduated from high school, was fatally shot downtown. On May 31, KeAaron Taylor, 17, was killed at an apartment complex. Earlier that day, Michael Rodriguez, 17, was shot to death in a car.
A grieving Parkland father is planning a museum honoring young victims of gun violence. Manny Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin, 17, during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, announced The Museum of Incomplete, which will house artifacts from lives cut short by gun violence. Oliver donated his son’s basketball shoes from the season he never got to finish.
A public awareness campaign urging gun owners in Mobile, Alabama, to secure their firearms led to a dramatic drop in gun thefts from cars. Law enforcement officials said Thursday that the number of guns stolen from cars decreased 40 percent from the same period last year. “This is simply a good news story,” a city councilman said.
ONE LAST THING
YouTube’s plan to remove videos of mass shooting hoaxers. As part of an effort to rid the video platform of extremism, the company unveiled a new policy prohibiting certain discriminatory videos, including those that deny the reality of “well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.” A lawyer representing 10 of the Sandy Hook families welcomed the ban, but said it was “too late to undo the harm” caused by mass shooting conspiracy theories that have circulated on the website for years. In 2015, our Mike Spies spoke with a grieving Sandy Hook father, Lenny Pozner, who makes it his mission to confront the conspiracy theorists who deny his son’s death.