Hello, readers. Reporting on gun violence means covering a lot of bad news. But there are bright spots, too, and we want to be sure to bring you those stories, through what’s sometimes called “solutions journalism.” An example of that leads off today’s Daily Bulletin.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: How an underperforming California crime lab transformed itself into a well-oiled, shooter-catching machine. Law enforcement departments across the country have access to a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives database called NIBIN, which uses the gun equivalent of fingerprints to link shell casings from multiple crime scenes to the same weapon, and sometimes the same trigger-puller. When used correctly, NIBIN can take violent people off the streets and potentially halt cycles of retaliatory assaults and homicides. But many departments don’t do that, citing a lack of resources and staff. Ann Givens found a crime lab director in Northern California who convinced her team that they didn’t need more sets of hands, just smarter protocols. What she accomplished holds lessons for law enforcement around the country. Read about it here.
A Florida man who had been shielded from arrest by the state’s “stand your ground” law was charged with manslaughter. Twenty-six days after Michael Drejka, 47, a licensed concealed carrier with a history of armed road rage, fatally shot Markeis McGlockton after an argument over a handicapped parking spot in Clearwater, Florida, the state attorney charged him with manslaughter.
Here’s what’s greeting Stoneman Douglas students as classes resume: Chain-link fences, security cameras, auto-locking doors, and mandatory identification badges, The New York Times reports. (The clear plastic backpacks required after last February’s shooting have been scuttled.) Visitors will have to be buzzed in. In addition to two more school resource officers, sheriff’s deputies and off-duty police officers will be temporarily deployed to patrol the campus until enough school employees can be trained through the state’s armed guardian program.
More back-to-school news: Homeland Security will train high school students to render first aid after mass shootings. A $1.8 million grant will teach kids to “stabilize the injured and control severe bleeding until first responders arrive on the scene.” Meanwhile, a Connecticut teen designed a portable bulletproof wall to protect students from gunfire. Audrey Larson, 14, said the anxiety of her fellow classmates inspired her to come up with the idea, which she hopes to patent.
For the second time in a month, the National Rifle Association is suing a city in Washington State to overturn a safe storage law. Last month, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation brought suit against the city of Seattle over a new law that requires residents to secure their guns or face up to $10,000 in fines. The groups argue that towns and cities that set their own gun laws are violating the state’s pre-emption statute. Now the gun groups have also filed suit against the suburb of Edmonds, which has passed a similar ordinance.
A security guard in Las Vegas shot at the manager of the store he was guarding. The two got into an argument on Saturday, during which the guard opened fire “with zero regard to the shoppers inside the store.” He then shot at responding officers, who returned fire, wounding him. He was the only person injured.
A 7-year-old girl was killed in a shootout at a Florida shopping center. Heydi Rivas Villanueva was sitting in a car with her father and a sibling in the parking lot of a Jacksonville strip mall when two groups began shooting at each other Saturday evening. She was struck in the head and died at a hospital later that night. She is the fourth child under 18 to be fatally shot in Jacksonville so far this year.
A California man with a history of domestic violence fatally shot three of his children and then himself. Police in Clearlake say Ricardo Garcia Lopez, 39, killed three of his kids, aged 9 months, 2, and 4, and wounded his 5-year-old before killing himself early Sunday. Lopez, a registered sex offender, was arrested twice this year for spousal battery.
ONE LAST THING
A new online tool puts violent crime stats at your fingertips. Innumeracy about violent crime has long plagued policy discussions and news reporting. That public ignorance is exactly what New York University sociology professor Patrick Sharkey aims to combat with a new tool: American Violence is an online portal that enables readers to easily explore murder rates and trends in U.S. cities by culling the most up-to-date data from reliable local sources. The site is to crime wonks what a stock app is to market watchers. With easier access to the data, “people will be able to have a more informed public debate about the problem of violent crime,” Sharkey told The Trace’s Daniel Nass. That includes the president, whose characterization of crime in Chicago was way off the mark.