Hello, Bulletin readers. As outcry over the Trump administration’s treatment of child migrants continues, the NRA’s media arm is working to keep members of the gun group from joining the bipartisan backlash. Those developments and more, below.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
In the Tennessee state Legislature, the push for safe gun storage has become bipartisan. In 2016, Democratic State Senator Sara Kyle introduced a safe-storage proposal called MaKayla’s Law, named for an 8-year-old who was fatally shot by another child. The bill was defeated after lobbying from the National Rifle Association, but Kyle has continued to push for similar measures — and last year, she was joined by two Republican colleagues who introduced a bill that would allow prosecutors to levy misdemeanor charges against adults whose guns are used by children. It’s the latest sign that gun-friendly politicians are open to using the power of law to ensure that the idea of “responsible gun ownership” includes keeping firearms secure from unauthorized users. In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has proposed making it a felony if children use “recklessly” stored guns to kill or injure someone, and he has also thrown his weight behind requiring gun owners to report stolen or lost guns to police.
Betsy DeVos ended the testimony of a federal school safety commission witness before he could mention the risks introduced by guns. Dr. Rowell Huesmann of the University of Michigan was discussing anger and violent behavior in teens at a meeting of the commission last week when he brought up how “the availability of weapons for youth exacerbates this problem.” That’s when the secretary of education cut him off, saying Huesmann was going over his time limit. A reporter from Polygon got a copy of Huesmann’s prepared remarks, which show him elaborating on access to guns as a critical variable in school violence. Earlier this month, Devos announced that the commission, established after the Parkland shooting, will not address the role firearms play.
An NRATV correspondent called the detention centers holding immigrant children “too nice.” Chuck Holton, who appears frequently on the gun group’s digital media arm, also claimed to have visited the facilities, to which few members of the public or news media have been allowed access.
Two young men were killed in accidental shootings over the weekend. An 18-year-old college-bound Bronx man was playing with a friend’s gun when he stumbled and shot himself in the chest. In North Carolina, a 23-year-old man was cleaning his gun with a friend when a 22-caliber Smith and Wesson M&P rifle discharged and shot him in the stomach.
A New Jersey man was killed nearly nine years to the day after his first gunshot injuries. On June 23, 2009, Michael Welsh was shot six times and ended up in the hospital in critical condition. Early Sunday morning — nine years and one day after he’d first been shot — Welsh was struck again, this time fatally. Police discovered Welsh and another gunshot victim in Plainfield after being alerted to gunfire via the ShotSpotter gunshot notification system. They are still searching for suspects.
ONE LAST THING
A Western Massachusetts shooting range is under fire for trying to solve one environmental problem and creating another. Four years ago, state officials learned that the Granby Bow and Gun Club had filled in some wetlands areas and bulldozed over a stream running through the property. After paying a small fine, the club agreed to revegetate the area, but its preferred method of doing so — a soil mixture that includes recycled sewage — has spurred concerned citizens to action, including those who worry the mixture is toxic and will pollute their well-water supply.
This particular issue is unique, but it’s not the first time shooting ranges have stirred up environmental controversy. As The Trace has reported, ranges frequently pollute nearby waterways with the thousands of tons of lead shot they produce every year, which can cost municipalities millions of dollars to clean up.