Hello, Bulletin readers. A gun rampage at a small Maryland newspaper yesterday was the 43rd incident this month in which four or more people were shot. As its journalists found themselves part of a tragic story, they hunkered down and did their jobs. The presses of the Capital Gazette rolled as usual, delivering the paper’s own coverage of the attack, and remembrances of their fallen colleagues, this morning.
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MARYLAND NEWSPAPER SHOOTING
Five people were killed when a gunman stormed a Maryland newspaper. On Thursday afternoon, a man armed with a shotgun blasted his way into the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, killing at least five and injuring others. Here’s what the paper’s own reporters witnessed as the shooting unfolded.
Hours after the rampage, Capital journalists assembled in a parking lot to put out the next day’s edition. “Hell, yes,” reporter E. B. Furgurson III answered when asked whether the paper would publish on schedule, despite the devastation wrought in its newsroom. Eleven staffers — representing roughly half the Capital’s editorial team — worked together on today’s front page story:
The gunman had a history of animus toward the paper. After a columnist reported on his harassment of a former high school classmate, the alleged perpetrator of yesterday’s attack unsuccessfully sued the Capital Gazette for defamation and invasion of privacy. His lawsuit was tossed when he failed to show that the paper had gotten the facts wrong, or caused him specific harm. After losing his legal battle, the gunman repeatedly ranted against the paper and individual journalists on social media.
The lives lost, as remembered by their colleagues. Reporters from the Baltimore Sun, which owns the Capital Gazette group, memorialized the five victims — four veteran journalists and an ad assistant — in a series of obituaries featured today on the Capital Gazette home page, alongside selections of their most memorable work.
WHAT ELSE TO KNOW TODAY
Republicans and Democrats are more divided on the National Rifle Association than ever, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. In a survey conducted in June, 88 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats said they viewed the NRA favorably. That’s the largest partisan gap ever recorded by the polling firm.
A red flag law passed the Massachusetts Legislature. The bill would allow people to petition for an extreme-risk protection order if they feel a family or household member poses a risk. Like similar bills across the country, it gained support after the Parkland shooting in February. On Thursday, it was approved by lawmakers and now awaits the governor’s signature.
Virginia may be the next state to consider red flag laws. At a gun-violence prevention task force session on Wednesday, law enforcement officials, policymakers, and legal experts gathered to discuss strategies for preventing gun injuries and deaths in the state. Much of the conversation centered around laws that allow law enforcement to temporarily disarm people who might pose a threat to themselves or others.
Families of nearly all 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting formed a policy coalition. Stand With Parkland, launched Thursday, is a bipartisan organization to push for improved mental health care, responsible gun ownership, and school safety enhancements. The group will also push for some gun reform legislation, including expanded background checks. It’s a group “that none of us ever wanted to become a part of,” one parent said.
More than 97,000 people sent in their comments on a proposed nationwide bump stock ban. The comments included calls for more gun rights as well as pleas for public safety. The last time the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives put out a call for comments on a bump stock ban was in early 2018, before the Parkland shooting. That time around, the comments were overwhelmingly anti-regulation, an analysis of more than 30,000 comments by The Trace found.
A news organization is suing the Department of Justice for gun data. Reveal, the website for The Center for Investigative Reporting, filed a lawsuit this week against the Justice Department for failing to respond to the group’s Freedom of Information Act request in March. The news organization is requesting data on how often guns sold to the public by police turn up at crime scenes. A 2003 federal law called the Tiahrt Amendment blocks the ATF from releasing some crime gun data to the public, but the data requested by Reveal is not bound by those restrictions.
After a string of fatal shootings, Jacksonville’s transgender community feels their safety is at risk. Police in Jacksonville, Florida, say they have no reason to believe the three murders of transgender black women in the city this year are related. But the strained relationship between the police and the trans community has left many transgender people feeling unprotected, especially as the number of violent incidents continues to rise. Meanwhile: A 54-year-old transgender woman was found dead with an apparent gunshot wound in Cleveland early Sunday. She is the second transgender person to be killed in the city in four months. In February, Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot outside her apartment building. According to the Human Rights Campaign, last year was the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States.
After a road rage incident, a man with a gun followed a woman to her home. The man was arrested on Wednesday after he pointed a gun at a woman in a road rage incident in Gainesville, Florida, and proceeded to follow the woman home in his car. When police searched his car, they found multiple firearms and a knife. What the data shows: People are pulling guns in road rage incidents more and more, a 2017 analysis from The Trace found.
The man whose gun slipped from his pants in an Indiana IKEA has been arrested. The 62-year-old man is being charged with criminal recklessness after a 6-year-old child found the weapon in a couch cushion and fired it in the store on Monday. According to an affidavit, the man’s gun was not in a holster when it fell out of his pants.
ONE LAST THING
Yesterday’s mass shooting, in context. Despite the fact that active shooter scenarios like yesterday’s shooting in Annapolis make up a small fraction of gun deaths, they have become far more common in the past half century. Three of the deadliest mass shootings in American history have occurred within the past year.
Using a broader definition of mass shootings, an incident in which four or more people are shot, these tragedies are an everyday occurrence in America. So far in 2018, Gun Violence Archive has recorded 154 mass shootings. At least 43 of those were in this month alone.
For more about mass shootings in the United States, here’s our breakdown of the deadly phenomenon.