Good Morning, Bulletin readers. A Stanford doctor — and ex-Trump nominee — is leading a rally today to recognize gun violence as a public health epidemic. A former Trump campaign worker has a new revelation about Maria Butina. But, as usual, this newsletter is one of the few 2018 news sources in which most of the items are Trump-free. Your Monday briefing continues below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Doctors and medical students will rally today to protest the lack of action on gun violence. The fledgling, nonpartisan group calls itself SAFE, for Scrubs Addressing the Firearms Epidemic. Today marks its first protest action, with demonstrations planned at Stanford Med and dozens of other medical schools across the country. SAFE wants funding to research the answers to standard epidemiological questions and training for doctors on how to talk to patients about guns. It is spearheaded in part by Dean Winslow, who found himself at the center of the national gun debate when he was nominated for assistant secretary of defense for health affairs last year. Winslow’s confirmation hearings took place two days after the shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas; during his testimony, Winslow said it is “insane … that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic weapon like an AR-15.” He did not get the job.
A new interview reveals Maria Butina was trying to cozy up to the Trump campaign as early as July 2015, a year earlier than federal prosecutors have alleged. Sam Nunberg, a former campaign official, told Politico that Butina’s boyfriend, GOP operative Paul Erickson, contacted him in the early days of Trump’s candidacy seeking to arrange an introduction between Trump and Butina, whom Erickson described as a Russian national with links to the NRA. The meeting, which Erickson wanted to take place at a Las Vegas campaign stop, didn’t pan out. However, at the event, Butina was able to ask Trump a question about whether he would continue to impose sanctions on Russia.
More details have emerged regarding last week’s rampage shooting in California. Across four locations in Bakersfield on Wednesday, gunman Javier Casarez killed five others, including his ex-wife, and then himself. The couple was in the process of dividing their assets. The other victims include one of his former colleagues at a trucking company and three other individuals — including a father and his adult daughter, who were killed in their home — whose connections to Casarez are unknown.
Illinois schools are installing “active shooter alarms.” The blue boxes resemble fire alarms and automatically call police when pulled. Twenty schools in the state, most of them private, have invested in the systems, provided by a company called BluePoint. Meanwhile, across the border in Indiana, a district will allow school personnel like custodians to carry concealed guns while on school grounds. The measure was approved by the board of Sunman-Dearborn Community Schools in eastern Indiana on Thursday evening, though it did not announce when the policy — which specifically prohibits teachers from being armed — would take effect.
Suicide-prevention efforts championed by gun store owners have spread to 20 states. The Gun Shop Project began in New Hampshire in 2009, as a way to teach firearms retailers how to spot a potentially suicidal person. Since then, the project has spread to 10 states, including Utah, which has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and a particularly high gun suicide rate: 86 percent of its firearm-related deaths are suicides. About 10 other states have implemented similar programs, including some that were borne out of a partnership between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and a gun-industry trade group.
ONE LAST THING
We are pleased to relay that The Trace won a “general excellence” award from the Online News Association. The news was announced Saturday. We competed in the “micro” newsroom category and tied with a Postdata.club, a Cuban data-journalism outlet. Thank you, dear readers, for engaging with and sharing our work — your support makes our reporting possible!