Good morning, Bulletin readers. We learned more about the victims of Sunday’s shooting at a video game tournament in Florida. The National Rifle Association is raising membership dues for the second time in as many years. And teen gun reformers are planning a sit-in at the Capitol Hill officers of NRA-funded Senators. Those stories and more, below.
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THE LATEST ON JACKSONVILLE
A 24-year-old gamer from Maryland brought two handguns to a restaurant during a football video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sunday and opened fire after he was eliminated, killing two people and wounding nine others before killing himself.
Here are yesterday’s developments:
- We know more about the victims. Eli Clayton, 22, a former high school football player from Southern California, had earned $51,000 playing the football video game Madden. He competed under the handle “True.” Taylor Robertson, 27, who competed as “SpotMePlzzz,” hailed from West Virginia, where he played high school and college football. He had accrued $80,500 in Madden-related earnings. He is survived by a wife and a young son. Robertson’s sponsor, Dot City Gaming, called both victims “great competitors and well-loved members of the Madden community.”
- The murder weapon was purchased from a licensed dealer in Maryland. The Jacksonville sheriff said the suspected gunman, David Katz, recently bought two handguns — a .45 and a 9mm — from a licensed dealer in the Baltimore area, close to where he lived with his parents. Both guns were found at the scene; only one was used in the shooting.
- The gunman had a history of mental health issues. Court records reveal that Katz was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment as a teenager and had a history of volatile behavior and violent outbursts. He has attended the University of Maryland since 2014, but he was not enrolled this semester. At the tournament, an announcer introduced Katz by saying that the stone-faced gamer “keeps to himself. He’s a man of business. He’s not here to make friends.” Katz reportedly lost two games earlier in this weekend’s tournament, and one competitor said he refused to shake hands afterward. Police have not commented on his motive.
- Yesterday’s shooting coincided with a grim anniversary. The fatal gunfire, which could be heard on a livestream of the tournament, fell on the third anniversary of a gun rampage that was also captured live, to the horror of viewers: the fatal shooting of WDBJ reporters Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, who were gunned down by a disgruntled former co-worker in Virginia on August 26, 2015.
WHAT ELSE TO KNOW TODAY
NEW FROM THE TRACE: The NRA is hiking membership dues for the second time in two years. The fee increase takes the annual membership from $40 to $45. It comes on the heels of the gun group’s claims that it has suffered “tens of millions of dollars in damages” because of the state of New York’s clampdown on its insurance products, though a source close to the organization says its been in the works for some time. In 2016, the NRA also increased dues, for the first time in 20 years. But tax filings show its revenues from members actually decreased that year. Read the full story here.
Federal gun prosecutions are up 22 percent since the same period last year. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the Justice Department reported 8,403 gun prosecutions during the first 10 months of fiscal year 2018. That’s a 22.5 percent increase over the same period last year, when the DOJ reported 8,235 prosecutions, and a 41.3 percent increase over five years ago, when there were 7,136 prosecutions. The top-performing district so far this fiscal year has been the Eastern District of Missouri, which includes St. Louis. Here’s contributor Mark Obbie’s 2017 feature on why aggressive federal gun prosecutions in St. Louis haven’t kept the city from ranking as America’s murder capital.
Young gun reform activists are holding sit-ins at NRA-backed senators’ offices at noon today. Frustrated by yet another mass shooting, Rebecca Heimbrock, a 15-year-old high school sophomore in Maryland, planned the protests.
A federal court extended an injunction blocking online distribution of blueprints for 3D-printed guns. Monday’s ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by 19 states and Washington, D.C., to halt a settlement between the Trump administration and a Texas company that wants to distribute the schematics. In his ruling, which heavily favors the plaintiffs, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik wrote that the government’s actions “not only impact national security but have domestic repercussions as well.”
A third of U.S. military veterans keep a loaded, unsecured gun around the house. That’s according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The lead investigator concluded that gun safety practices “are strongly related to whether individuals keep their firearms for protection,” and warned of the “thoroughly demonstrated risks of [gun] access for those with elevated suicide risk.”
A woman who shot and killed her abusive husband in a “stand your ground” state has been charged with murder. Jacqueline Dixon, 38, says she shot her estranged husband on July 31 as he charged at her in the front yard of her Selma, Alabama, home. Under the state’s “stand your ground” law, a person doesn’t have the “duty to retreat” from someone using deadly force. Dixon’s attorney said his client felt that her life was in danger. From The Trace archives: Though the NRA promises women’s empowerment through guns, self-defense laws often don’t apply to women who fight back against an abusive partner.
A Texas man is accused of randomly shooting at women motorists because he thinks they’re “incompetent.” Police in Katy, Texas, say Nicholas D’Agostino, 29, shot two women in the arm as they drove near his house over the last five months. He claimed that both incidents were self-defense because the drivers swerved into his lane. Police say he revealed his misogynist motivation in Facebook posts.
The man who disarmed the Tennessee Waffle House gunman launched an anti-violence foundation. Four months after grabbing an assault-style rifle from a man who’d just fatally shot four people in an Antioch Waffle House, James Shaw Jr. launched an eponymous organization to address gun violence and mental health. Earlier this month, the suspected gunman was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.
ONE LAST THING
Mass shooting survivors react to news of yet another mass shooting. News of multiple-casualty gun rampages can be traumatizing for those who have lived through them or lost loved ones in similar attacks. Shortly after reports of the Jacksonville shooting broke on Sunday, Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf tweeted, “Every mass shooting hurts like the last. The empty dinner tables that will follow. Mothers burying their children.” Sandy Phillips, whose daughter died in the 2012 Aurora shooting, tweeted, “Each time we relive our daughter’s death again.” Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky extended his sympathies to families affected by more routine gun violence, writing that on Monday, “the sun will rise and far too many will be living their first day without their children,” and reminded readers that “the pain never stops for the survivors.”