What to Know Today

Missouri governor acknowledges complications caused by “Second Amendment Sanctuary” act. The law, which just took effect late last month, essentially blocks local and state law enforcement from enforcing federal gun regulations. In practice, though, law enforcement officials from across the state have said its broad restrictions block police from participating in federal efforts to prosecute gun crimes and restrict trafficking. Though it’s only been in effect for a few weeks, state troopers are no longer working with federal agents on cases involving guns, and several departments have stopped participating in a federal ballistics database. One Missouri police chief even resigned over it. While Governor Mike Parson is still defending the law he signed, he told news station KMOV that the Legislature will need to reassess some aspects of it that are causing problems. “I think there are some things we can correct,” he said. Nationwide, more than 1,000 localities and at least 17 states have passed some type of so-called Second Amendment sanctuary law.

A school district banned backpacks to prevent shootings. Students came up with some peculiar alternatives. After a 13-year-old student was found with a gun in her backpack, four schools in Rigby, Idaho, have banned backpacks in a “precautionary measure” to prevent violence. Since then, TikTok videos have captured students carrying their textbooks and supplies in wagons, shopping carts, water coolers, strollers, and even a popcorn machine. The incident and the school district’s response came just four months after a shooting at the same school. In that case, a sixth-grade girl took a handgun from her backpack and shot two other students and a custodian. As students returned to schools this fall, so did gun violence. There have been at least 27 shooting incidents at elementary and high schools since August 1, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Meanwhile, as we’ve previously reported, the American Rescue Plan is funding new investments in mental, behavioral, and emotional support for students.

A new study aims to fill research gaps on the efficacy of school gun violence prevention methods. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School and Teachers College are investigating metal detectors, policies that arm school personnel, active shooter drills, and other strategies by collecting data from more than 600 K-12 public schools nationwide. The study is part of a historic $12.5 million effort on the part of the National Institutes of Health to fund gun violence research. This is part of a larger shift in federal funding of gun violence research. For decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NIH largely avoided funding firearms research for fear of violating a ban on federally funding research that would “advocate or promote gun control.” That changed in 2018 when Congress clarified that the CDC could, in fact, fund gun violence research, and the agency began receiving funds for research in 2020. Among other things, the new funding is supporting efforts to study nonfatal firearm injuries, hospital-based violence intervention programs, and the effect of repurposing vacant properties on firearm violence.

Illinois lawmaker proposes a gun violence “heartbeat bill.” State Representative Margaret Croke, a Democrat, modeled the legislation off the new abortion law in Texas. She argues that if anyone can sue abortion providers in Texas, then victims of gun violence — or really anyone who isn’t a state official — should be allowed to sue gun makers and gun sellers if their firearms are used to unlawfully kill or hurt someone, according to news station WEHT

On the other end of the spectrum, a lawmaker wants to OK “Made in Oklahoma” silencers. Republican state Senator Michael Bergstrom has filed a bill that would exempt firearm suppressors, commonly known as silencers, from federal laws and regulations if they’re manufactured and kept within Oklahoma. The law, if approved, would allow Oklahomans to legally own a silencer without complying with federal registration requirements as long as the silencer has “Made in Oklahoma” marked on it.

Data Point

18 — the number of so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary counties in Iowa after the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution aimed at preventing local resources from being used to enforce gun laws. [KCCI Des Moines]