Nearly 700 days after four students were killed in the deadly shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, independent investigators released a sweeping report concluding that the attack could have been prevented if the district had appropriately carried out threat assessment intervention. The report faulted top school officials for “failure and responsibility by omission.” [ProPublica/Detroit Free Press]
The Gun Machine
In 1999, at the end of a decade in which Gary, Indiana, had endured being labeled the “murder capital of the nation,” then-Mayor Scott King filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturers he believed were knowingly flooding his city with illegal firearms. By the next year, more than 30 cities were pursuing a legal avenue they hoped would reduce the gun violence plaguing their communities.
But every suit soon faced the same obstacle: a 2005 federal law, or equivalent laws at the state level, that made it nearly impossible to hold gun companies liable for gun crime. The latest episode of The Gun Machine, a podcast from WBUR and The Trace, explores how it got this way — and how the NRA, then at the pinnacle of its power, helped bring the industry’s unique legal protections into being.
What to Know Today
In 1983, Mark Rosenberg started a branch of the CDC dedicated to studying violence, modeling his work on existing research into motor vehicle wrecks. The studies on car crashes eventually spurred innovations and policy changes that made driving safer. But Rosenberg’s work, which faced fierce opposition from the gun lobby, resulted in essentially one thing: his firing from the CDC in 1999. [The Texas Tribune]
Maine Governor Janet Mills said she believes “action is needed” to counter gun violence and indicated that she is open to changing state or federal firearms laws — though she offered no specifics — during a press conference Monday on the Lewiston mass shooting, the deadliest in the state’s history. Maine has permissive gun access laws, and reform bills have historically failed to draw support in the Legislature. [Kennebec Journal/Spectrum News Maine]
Activists in Kentucky haven’t given up on finding justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed by police in Louisville three years ago. For many, the gubernatorial race between incumbent Andy Beshear, a Democrat in an otherwise GOP-dominant state, and Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who declined to prosecute the officers who killed Taylor, is an inflection point in their struggle. [The 19th]
Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Rahimi, a challenge to a federal ban on gun possession by people subject to domestic violence restraining orders. Victims of domestic abuse say laws like these keep them safe — and question if one person’s right to a gun supersedes the rights of others. [Associated Press]
Newly uncovered court records show that Zackey Rahimi, the man at the center of the gun rights case before the Supreme Court, sent a letter of apology this past summer to a Texas judge in which he promised to “stay away from firearms & weapons.” [HuffPost]
A Hong Kong court acquitted Washington state Senator Jeff Wilson for illegally possessing a firearm in Chinese territory after an unloaded gun in the lawmaker’s carry-on bag went undetected by airport security in Portland, Oregon. Wilson, a Republican who was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport on October 21, called the incident an “honest mistake.” [NBC]
Three-quarters of veterans who take their own lives die by gunshot, yet for decades, discussions about suicide prevention skirted questions about firearms. Amid a steady rise in gun suicides over the past few years, researchers and the Department of Veterans Affairs have begun to seriously evaluate the role of guns in the veteran suicide epidemic — and how to protect veterans on their darkest days. [Associated Press]
10 percent — the proportion of annual domestic violence deaths, more than half of which involve guns, in the U.S. that could be reduced by gun seizure requirements. [University of Michigan via Associated Press]