Hello, Bulletin readers. At a pro-immigration rally in Alabama, a superstore in Tennessee, and a campus in Oregon, the past few days have provided reminders of how guns can introduce volatility into public spaces. Those stories and more to kick off your holiday week.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
An Alabama man was arrested after brandishing a gun during a pro-immigration rally. Huntsville was one of as many as 750 cities and towns across the country this weekend to host protests against the Trump administration’s harsh treatment of migrants. As an Episcopalian priest gave a prayer to start the event there, the man paced in front of her, holding a sign that read “ICE ICE BABY” and mimicking the former Trump advisor Corey Lewandowski’s response (“womp womp”) to the chaos and pain of separating children and parents at the border. A minor physical altercation broke out, during which the man pulled out a handgun. The man was arrested for possessing a gun within 1,000 feet of a protest and has since also been charged with menacing and reckless endangerment.
Campus cops fatally shot a concealed carrier after he dropped his gun trying to break up a fight. Jason Erik Washington was killed by campus police at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, on Friday as he reached to retrieve the weapon. The college in 2014 decided to employ armed officers, a policy met with controversy.
A former colleague memorializes one of the journalists slain in Maryland. Features writer and editor Rob Hiaasen was killed in the rampage alongside Capital Gazette staffers Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters. Novelist Laura Lipmann, who overlapped with Hiassen at the Baltimore Sun, sums him up in this moving tribute: “He made everything and everyone interesting.”
The gunman had trolled journalists at another paper. A columnist for an Orange County, California, alt-weekly explains how he and his editor found themselves being angrily tweeted at by the future killer, whose primary target had left the Capital Gazette to work at a SoCal newspaper.
The incoming National Rifle Association president used a state GOP gathering to plug NRATV. When Oliver North spoke at the Idaho Republican Party convention on Friday, he boasted that he was “going to break some news” by announcing his goal of doubling the organization’s membership. (According to the NRA, it currently has six million members, although that figure hasn’t been verified by independent sources.) North also took the opportunity to encourage attendees to get their news from NRATV, rather than traditional news sources.
China repeats a warning to citizens visiting the United States: beware of gun violence. In a notice giving would-be tourists advice for the summer travel season, the Chinese Embassy flagged “highly frequent” gun violence (as well as robberies and burglaries) as cause for concern. (Other travel advice included being aware of the steep cost of emergency medical treatment.) According to the New York Times, this isn’t the first time such a warning has been issued: In 2017, the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles published a guide on how to respond to an active shooter.
A Tennessee woman was injured when the gun she was carrying accidentally went off inside a Walmart. The woman, who has a permit, was getting a cart when her gun fell out of its holster. The impact caused the gun to go off, and a bullet was fired into the floor. The gun owner was injured by fragments that flew into the air. Police are investigating the incident.
June marked the 16th consecutive month in which Chicago saw a decrease in gun violence. According to the city’s police department, during the first half of 2018, there were 79 fewer murders and 270 fewer shootings compared to the same period of 2017. In June alone, there were 30 fewer murders compared to June of last year.
ONE LAST THING
Records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives show that a city’s last gun store had repeatedly flouted federal laws. San Francisco’s High Bridge Arms shuttered in late 2015, around the time the city was considering requiring all gun stores within its jurisdiction to videotape sales and share the footage with police. The closure was viewed as a product of the city’s strict rules for sellers. But a new report from the San Francisco Chronicle, using documents obtained by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, reveals there was more to the story: The gun shop had broken 10 different federal gun laws, including selling to a prohibited possessor, leading an ATF operations director to conclude that it should lose its license to sell firearms.
The tough action against High Bridge Arms is an exception. As a recent New York Times analysis found, stores that violate federal regulations are rarely penalized by the ATF. Inspections of two other Northern California gun stores also turned up violations, the Chronicle notes, but in both cases, ATF managers reversed recommendations that they be shut down.