Happy Monday, Bulletin readers. An NRA lobbyist reveals how one specific move will boost Florida GOP grades. Two children accidentally shot themselves with their fathers’ weapons. And many American cities faced another violent weekend. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Florida state lawmakers who voted against calling a special session to debate “stand your ground” will see a boost in their NRA grade. That’s according to National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, who sent out a press release on Saturday saying that Democrats who called for the session did Republicans a “great service.” Hammer made public unusually specific details for how the vote might affect grades that were docked when some Republicans voted for a gun-and-school-safety bill after the Parkland shooting: “Republican incumbents who previously had NRA ratings of A or A+ and voted in favor of [the post-Parkland bill] had their ratings dropped to a ‘C.’ Incumbents who voted against calling a Special Session are eligible for a grade increase up to a ‘B-.'” The idea of a special session stemmed from a shooting in Clearwater that became national news when a local sheriff, citing “stand your ground,” refused to arrest the gunman, whom the State Attorney’s office later charged with manslaughter. Everything you need to know about how the gun group uses its grading system to keep politicians in line can be found in this deep dive from The Trace’s Mike Spies.
Right- and left-wing groups again faced off in a major American city, this time over a gun reform ballot initiative. In Seattle on Saturday, police had to keep Washington 3 Percenters, a militia, and Patriot Prayer separated from counter-protestors. Members of the right-wing groups, some of whom were openly carrying guns, were protesting a ballot initiative that would impose new requirements on the purchase and storage of firearms. They were confronted by activists from Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, among others. Three people were arrested for misdemeanor assault, according to police. The day before, a judge had thrown out the 300,000-plus signatures submitted by sponsors to qualify a measure on the November ballot; supporters immediately appealed to the state Supreme Court, requesting a ruling by the end of this month.
There’s a hearing set for tomorrow in states’ lawsuits to block 3-D printed guns. This blog post from the National Constitution Center is a good guide to the legal theories at play, and explains why the government’s ability to regulate (or not) downloadable files for “ghost guns” has ramifications far beyond the gun debate.
Two adults have been arrested in New Hampshire after a 7-year-old shot himself in the leg. The child, who was being supervised by his father’s fiancée, went into a bedroom and grabbed a gun from the top of a dresser. According to the boy’s father, because it was an older weapon, the safety sometimes slides into the off position. The father and his fiancée have been charged with reckless conduct. Meanwhile, an Iowa 2-year-old is in the hospital after accidentally shooting himself with his father’s gun. The family was staying in a hotel, and the child found the .45-caliber handgun in his father’s luggage. He pulled the trigger, sending a bullet into his chest that traveled up to his neck.
A Los Angeles Lyft driver was shot in the head in a road rage shooting. Shortly after he picked up two passengers early Sunday morning, another car pulled up and the two drivers began arguing. The second driver pulled out a gun and opened fire before speeding away. The two passengers ducked and were not harmed. The driver is expected to survive. So far this summer, there have been five road rage shootings in California, leaving one dead and six injured.
ONE LAST THING
Chicago gun violence, in context, again: This past weekend, Chicago endured another barrage of gun violence, with at least six people dead and 53 others injured since Friday evening. As a Trace reader, you probably know that politicians and the national media have made the city the go-to example of a violent metropolis. You also probably know that it doesn’t have the highest murder rate in America; it’s not even in the top five. Earlier this year, we ran the numbers, and in 2017, Chicago had the ninth-highest homicide rate. Last year, Baltimore clocked in with the highest homicide rate. This past weekend, three were fatally shot and eight more were wounded in the city. In the 72 hours between Friday and Sunday, seven people were killed and three were injured in Memphis, which also had a higher homicide rate than Chicago. Kansas City, Missouri, rarely draws outside attention, but it has struggled to keep murders in check, as has St. Louis, two of a handful of cities where homicide rates have trended upwards again over the past 12 months.
To compare homicide trends over the near- and longterm, check out American Violence, a new tool that provides up-to-date data on crime rates, which visual journalist Daniel Nass tried out last week.