What to Know Today

Judge sanctions conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in latest trial. The trial in Waterbury, Connecticut, less than 20 miles from Newtown, was attended by more than a dozen family members of victims, who say they have been confronted and harassed for years by people who believed Jones’s false claim that the shooting was staged by “crisis actors” as part of a plot to take away people’s guns. The judge also sanctioned Jones on Tuesday for his failure to turn over analytic data related to his website and the popularity of his show, preventing his lawyers from arguing he didn’t profit from his Sandy Hook remarks. This is the second such trial for Jones, who was ordered by a Texas jury last month to pay nearly $50 million to the parents of one of the slain children, and faces a third trial in Texas involving the parents of another.

Superintendent of Maryland’s largest school district announces gun safety assemblies… In a letter to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools Dr. Monifa McKnight and State’s Attorney John McCarthy notified parents that public high school students will be educated on gun safety this fall in scheduled school assemblies. Citing national data from the Gun Violence Archives on escalating gun deaths and injuries among teenagers — which directly impacted the schools earlier this year — the letter says the assemblies will provide information on the law and consequences of gun violence, strategies to resolve problems without violence, and warning signs that someone may choose violence.

… as Democrats call on federal agencies to keep children safe at school. More than 30 congressional Democrats on Tuesday called on federal agencies to address “misguided” school safety policies focused on hiring, retaining, and funding school resource officers, an approach they called “counterproductive and harmful.” In a letter to the Department of Justice, Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, House lawmakers said the government has failed to protect schoolchildren and families in the wake of at least 30 school shootings this year, and proposed more programs to support students, including mental health resources. 

Medical summit aims at firearms violence prevention. Professionals from 47 multidisciplinary medical societies and health organizations from across the country participated in the second Medical Summit on Firearm Injury Prevention, in Chicago. Co-hosted by the American College of Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, the meeting aimed to identify ways the medical community could reach a consensus-based approach to preventing firearm injuries, with a focus on understanding and addressing gun violence as a public health issue. Recommendations and proceedings from the summit will be released in the coming months.

Teenager charged in death of Philadelphia woman. A 14-year-old boy has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Parks and Recreation employee Tiffany Fletcher at the Philadelphia playground where she worked, city officials confirm. Fletcher was “caught in the crossfire” of a shootout involving at least one other person at the Mill Creek Recreation Center in West Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. The 14-year-old boy was arrested after a brief chase, and a 9mm ghost gun was recovered in a nearby trash can, Outlaw said. Authorities also found 12 spent shell casings at the scene and are still searching for other suspects.

Data Point

29.5 Percentage increase in the rate of firearms deaths among children from 2016 to 2020 — more than twice as high as the relative increase in the general population. [CDC]