Hello, readers. Parkland activism marches on with a lawsuit against the maker and seller of the assault-style rifle used in the school massacre, as well as an ambitious youth voter registration drive. Plus, innovative research on Chicago’s underground gun market provides a new tool for stemming the flow of illegal weapons. Those stories and more, below.
Receive this daily news briefing by email every morning. Sign up here.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
Two Parkland families are suing the maker and seller of the gun used to kill their children in February’s massacre. The parents of Jaime Guttenberg and Alex Schachter filed lawsuits on Wednesday against the gunmaker American Outdoor Brands, which owns Smith & Wesson, and the Coral Springs gun store Sunrise Tactical Supply. The lawsuit alleges that the businesses are complicit in “the entirely foreseeable, deadly use of the assault-style weapons that they place on the market.” Before the suit can proceed, the plaintiffs will have to convince a judge to void or clarify a 2001 Florida law that shields gun businesses from some liability.
New from The Trace: In Chicago, illegal guns are just a few “handshakes” away. To better understand how deadly weapons move through the streets of Chicago, researchers at Northwestern University mapped access to guns among residents with police records. Brian Freskos spoke with an author of the groundbreaking study, who summed up its potential use at ground-level. “We need people who deal with the impacts of gun violence to use these maps to direct those efforts.”
Police departments aren’t taking full advantage of a powerful crime-solving technology, a joint report from NBC Bay Area and The Trace shows. The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) can match shell casings at crime scenes with the guns that fired them. Used properly, it has led to the arrest of repeat shooters. While the technology has been available since the 1990s, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says it will require a “paradigm shift” within police departments in order to realize its full potential.
U.S. senator from Florida introduced a bill to modernize the tracing of crime guns. The legislation from Democrat Bill Nelson would create an electronic database of gun sale records and require firearm dealers to provide the agency with electronic access to their transaction histories. The measure addresses one of the five policy priorities of the March for Our Lives movement, and comes as Nelson faces a re-election race against Governor Rick Scott, who signed a package of new gun restrictions after Parkland. Here’s our guide to why gun traces are so antiquated and laborious: “The ATF’s Nonsensical Non-Searchable Gun Databases, Explained”
The Massachusetts House of Representatives advanced an extreme-risk protection order bill. Despite opposition from local gun groups and the National Rifle Association, the bill is expected to become law. It goes further than some other red flag laws by including family members and other persons among those authorized to petition for the temporary removal of guns from people deemed a threat. Follow along: We’re tracking the status of extreme-risk protection order laws in state capitols across the country.
The Trump administration published a long-sought-after rule change for gun exports yesterday. Earlier this month, Alex Yablon explained the proposed shift, which would make it easier for American gun companies to export firearms. The plan, originally proposed by the Obama administration, stalled after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. President Trump is now pushing it forward.
Parkland students are organizing “the largest voter registration push for youth ever in American history.” That’s according to activist David Hogg, who shared the plan with Guardian reporter Lois Beckett. Hogg said student organizers will focus their energy this summer on getting young people to the polls in districts with low youth turnout and NRA-backed candidates. Related: Several states are recording spikes in youth voter registration since the Parkland shooting.
Hogg and his classmates are calling for a die-in today at Publix grocery stores. The chain has come under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that it donated more than $500,000 to a pro-NRA gubernatorial candidate’s campaign in Florida.
A man who acquired firearms for a serial killer has pleaded guilty to federal gun charges. The buyer admitted to straw-purchasing at least a dozen weapons for Todd Kohlhepp, a convicted felon who killed seven people in South Carolina between 2002 and 2015. Related: A woman in Washington State was sentenced to one year in prison for straw-purchasing nine weapons for her boyfriend, Brent Luyster, a felon and white supremacist. In 2016, Luyster used one of the guns to murder three people.
Police raids resulted in the seizure of 53 illegal guns from motorcycle gangs in Rhode Island. Authorities on Wednesday arrested more than 50 members of Rhode Island biker gangs The Pagans and Kryptmen, who state police say were involved in gun and drug trafficking.
ONE LAST THING
Journeys of gun violence survival, rendered in miniature. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are shot. Most of them live. Elizabeth Van Brocklin has been reporting on this overlooked population for more than a year. On The Trace’s Twitter page, she shared 10 first-person accounts from gunshot survivors she has met through her reporting. Their stories are incredibly powerful, even when told in 280 characters or less.