What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: At the NRA convention, lower attendance but fierce commitment. Three days after the Uvalde school shooting, the NRA held its convention less than 300 miles away in Houston, where attendees were greeted by a throng of protesters. Turnout was lower than projected, weapons were banned, and a few high-profile participants bowed out, including the country music headliner. The gathering nonetheless featured acres of military-style wares and an insistence that guns are not the real reason for America’s recent carnage. On Saturday morning, the group held its annual members meeting. A resolution commending NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre was approved, and a measure from a small dissident bloc of the NRA board seeking his removal did not get a vote. You can read Will Van Sant’s dispatch from Houston here, in partnership with Slate.
NEW on THE TRACE: How the right took control of Texas’ response to mass shootings. While there will be discussions in the coming weeks about incremental steps and public support for tightening gun regulations, the political reality is that three decades of Republican dominance in the state have erased the middle ground. In Texas, the answer to preventing future tragedy is either fewer guns or more, and conservative leaders in an already gun-friendly state have opted for the latter. Read the story, which originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.
There have been 17 mass shootings in the U.S. since Uvalde, leaving at least 13 people dead and 70 others injured, according to Gun Violence Archive. Fourteen of the incidents occurred over Memorial Day weekend. GVA defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot. Taft, Oklahoma, (eight shot), Henderson, Nevada, (seven shot), and Chattanooga, Tennessee (six shot) were among the cities witnessing the violence. While none of the incidents since Uvalde were as deadly or featured so many young victims, they are nonetheless a reminder of the steady stream of gun violence that happens in this country everyday. “Please hug your family extra close because this is becoming a common thing in the USA,” said Patrick Hickey, a Lyft and Uber driver who assisted with the victims of the Chattanooga shooting. There have been 230 mass shootings so far this year. Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been just shy of 3,900 mass shootings. ICYMI: On Saturday, we published a list of five ways the mass shooting at the Texas elementary school brings into focus the contours of an American crisis — particularly as it affects young people.
Funerals begin for Uvalde victims as survivors seek support. The Washington Post reports on the first memorials yesterday for those killed last week as the close-knit town begins two weeks of funerals and grieving for the unimaginable disaster. “I’m burying parishioners, but it’s people I’ve known all my life — and that’s what makes it difficult,” said Father Eduardo Morales of the city’s only Catholic church. Said the grandmother of one survivor: “It’s just too much for a little kid to have to go through. Us adults, too, we are trying to stay strong, for them, for our community, but it’s just too much.” Meanwhile, Buzzfeed News reports on the help survivors and families of the victims are seeking, including mental health support and therapy for the children who witnessed the event.
Justice Department to review response to Uvalde as law enforcement continues to face scrutiny. “At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24,” DOJ spokesperson Anthony Coley said in a statement. Amid widespread public criticism of the police response, including from family members of the victims, we also know that some officers disagreed with the police commander’s orders on the scene to wait before entering. 78 minutes: That’s the amount of time that elapsed from when the Uvalde gunman first entered the school and when officers entered the classroom he was in. The New York Times has a must-read interactive timeline account of the police response.
At least one Texas conservative is suggesting a slight break from state gun orthodoxy. While stating opposition to more federal gun restrictions and support for more mental health resources and school security, the GOP mayor of Fort Worth, Mattie Worth, called for raising the legal minimum age to purchase a rifle. As we reported, Texas is one of 44 states that allows the purchase of a long gun at the age of 18.
A resounding Canadian counterpoint to America’s response to gun violence. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leaders of his ruling Liberal Party announced wide-ranging legislation that would ban the sale and import — though not possession — of handguns. The law would also create a national red flag law, ban high-capacity magazines, revoke gun licenses after domestic violence or stalking charges, and institute a mandatory assault weapon buyback. The actions are a continuation of a policy shift that began in the aftermath of the country’s deadliest mass shooting in rural Nova Scotia in 2020, in which a gunman fatally shot 22 people. Trudeau’s government previously banned the sale of assault weapons. Related from The Trace: In 2019, Champe Barton looked at how an assault weapons buyback might actually work in the U.S.
12 — the number of minutes the Uvalde shooter reportedly fired into the school before entering. [The Wall Street Journal]