Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: The Washington Post dug into records on decades of school shootings, and the findings point to one promising solution. Plus, the NRA claims it might soon be forced to pull the plug on its television channel. Those stories and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
New from The Trace: The National Rifle Association details business woes in court filing. In a complaint amended to an ongoing lawsuit, the group claimed that it could be forced to cut member services as a result of efforts by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s financial services regulators to pressure banks and insurers to consider the reputational risks of doing business with the NRA, whose self-defense insurance policy was found to violate state law. The NRA said in the filing that it has had trouble securing banking services and insurance coverage. Without media liability insurance in particular, the group says, it may have to shutter its influential video and streaming arm, NRA TV. The NRA also complained that without other liability coverage, it “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.”
Most school shooters get their guns from immediate family members, an analysis from the Washington Post found. The Post examined 105 school shootings since Columbine. In 80 percent of those cases, the assailants got their weapons from their own homes or those of close relatives. In just four cases, adults were convicted for improper storage of guns. A proposed Pennsylvania state law would make it easier to convict negligent gun owners. The gun safety legislation would mandate secure storage of firearms in homes shared with prohibited gun owners, including juveniles. It would also require gun owners to report a lost or stolen weapon within 24 hours. Further reading: Our primer on safe storage laws explains how they work and why they’re still so rare.
A bold approach to gun restrictions would appeal to voters in general elections, a new poll from Guns Down and the Center for American Progress suggests. The survey by the two liberal organizations found that voters generally prefer candidates who argue for fewer guns overall rather than those who argue for universal background checks alone. GOP candidates continue to aggressively court gun owners. In Connecticut’s Republican primaries, candidates are making bold displays of their support of the Second Amendment on visits to gun stores and shooting ranges.
Alex Jones is seeking $100,000 in court costs from the family of a Sandy Hook victim. The family behind the defamation lawsuit did not appear in court yesterday, in part because of fears for their safety. Since Noah Pozner was killed in 2012, his parents say they have received repeated death threats from Jones’s followers, some of whom believe the talk show host’s lies that the shooting was a hoax. The Trace’s Mike Spies was one of the first journalists to report deeply on Lenny Ponzer’s fight against the conspiracy theorists who defile the truth about what happened to his son.
Chicago anti-violence protesters plan to shut down city streets again today. And they’re prepared to go to jail for their cause, they told the Chicago Tribune. The demonstrators plan to disrupt what’s expected to be a busy evening in the area — a music festival and a baseball game will be happening simultaneously. ICYMI: Last month, thousands of anti-gun violence demonstrators in Chicago shut down a major highway.
Another Baltimore cease-fire starts tomorrow. This weekend’s effort to clock 48 consecutive hours without a shooting will mark the community initiative’s one-year anniversary. Each of the group’s previous attempts has been successful. During and after February’s cease-fire, the city went 11 days without a single homicide, the longest stretch since 2014.
An armed homeowner who had just killed an intruder was killed by responding officers. The Aurora, Colorado, man was fatally shot by police early Monday, just minutes after he shot and killed a man who had broken into his home. An injured child was also found at what the police chief described as “a very chaotic and violent scene.”
A woman is in jail after killing her abuser in self-defense. The 38-year-old Selma, Alabama, woman had a protection from abuse order against her estranged husband, who she says charged at her in her driveway. After she shot and killed him, she was booked at the county jail on a $100,000 bond. Meanwhile, in Texas, a state representative said a shooting victim was killed by her estranged husband because “the woman was unfair.”
A Michigan lawmaker was detained after a Transportation Security Administration agent found a loaded gun in his bag. The state representative later apologized, saying that he “honestly forgot” the handgun was in his carry-on bag during a trip to Detroit earlier this month. The weapon was one of 17 guns seized from airline passengers across the United States that day. From The Trace archives: Last year, the TSA confiscated a record number of guns from traveler’s carry-on bags. Of the 3,957 firearms they found, 84 percent were loaded and 35 percent had a round chambered.
NEW FROM THE TRACE
Helping gun violence survivors tell their stories: a guide for journalists. For much of the past two years, The Trace’s Elizabeth Van Brocklin has reported almost exclusively on the often overlooked population of people living with gunshot injuries and related trauma. In a collaboration with the Columbia Journalism Review, she shares what she’s learned. Some of her tips:
- Understand the data that’s available (and what’s missing) so you can help put stories in perspective.
- Go beyond traditional avenues to find sources with diverse experiences.
- Use trauma-informed reporting techniques and treat sources with empathy and respect.
- Look for systemic problems — and possible solutions.
- Take care of yourself.