Hello, readers. Atlantans are still leaving guns unsecured in their cars. Those guns are still getting stolen, by the hundreds. Plus, we update our data guide on city murder rates.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
To protest state inaction on gun legislation, a Minnesota state representative held a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor. Democrat Erin Maye Quade is calling for legislative action on a red flag law and expanded background checks. After Republican lawmakers voted down the two proposals in February (dismissing them as “ideas that don’t work”), they were revived last month when two GOP members joined Democrats to re-introduce the bills. Following Maye Quade’s sit-in, Minnesota’s Republican House Speaker said the state’s debate on gun legislation wasn’t yet over.
Elsewhere, another bipartisan red flag bill advanced. The Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, which cleared the Delaware state Senate and is headed for the desk of the state’s supportive governor, would require mental health professionals in the state to report patients exhibiting dangerous behaviors to law enforcement, who can temporarily seize that person’s guns with the approval of a judge. Proponents emphasize the measure’s potential to reduce firearm suicides.
Supporters pressed pause on their drive to strengthen oversight of Illinois gun stores. The state Senator organizing an effort to overturn governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a gun dealer licensing bill declined to bring the override to a vote ahead of yesterday’s deadline, saying he wasn’t confident it would pass the state House. Instead, Democrat Don Harmon filed a new version of the legislation, vowing another push later.
Gun theft continues to rise in Atlanta, despite the admonishments of the local PD. Four hundred guns have been stolen from cars already in 2018, putting Atlanta on pace to top last year’s theft total, according to Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields. As Trace reporter Brian Freskos found in our yearlong investigation Missing Pieces, gun theft is a nationwide problem, and guns left by their owners in vehicles are particularly vulnerable. In cities that provided us with complete data, thefts of guns from vehicles rose 62 percent between 2010 and 2015. Despite the public safety risk posed by stolen firearms, most states don’t require gun owners who leave weapons in a car or truck to secure them against theft.
One of the police officers shot at a Home Depot in Dallas on Tuesday has died. Another police officer and a Home Depot employee remain in critical condition. Meanwhile, in Maine, police are searching for an armed robber who shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy early on Wednesday. Corporal Eugene Cole was a 13-year veteran of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect is facing illegal gun possession charges in Massachusetts.
Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the National Rifle Association’s national convention. The NRA announced on Tuesday that Pence will headline the gun group’s annual NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, which will take place on May 4 in Dallas.
The Waffle House where Sunday’s mass shooting took place has reopened. For the next month, the Antioch, Tennessee, diner will donate 100 percent of its sales to the families of the victims.
The first state-funded gun violence research center in the country found that gun deaths fell in California from 2000 to 2015. Researchers believe that the reduction in gun deaths was largely due to a decline in gang violence in Los Angeles County. During that period, Los Angeles shifted its approach to focus on community policing, focused deterrence, and increased city services.
“Give me your gun and I will personally help you get a job,” says the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. Randall Woodfin told members of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists on Saturday about a proposal to reduce violent crime in the city by offering job services to city residents most likely to commit crimes. The mayor has not committed to a formal gun exchange program but emphasized his belief in providing community services as part of a gun violence prevention strategy.
Florida police released an animated timeline of the six-minute massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The video was played on Tuesday at the first meeting of a Florida commission investigating the mass shooting. It shows the gunman’s movements through the school in real time, represented as a black dot. Students and staff are also represented as dots, which change color at the moment they were injured or killed.
A murder-suicide in Pennsylvania left two women dead. In what police described as a “calculated attack,” a Delaware woman traveled to Pennsylvania on Monday and shot to death the woman her husband was allegedly having an affair with before killing herself.
Despite city law, open carry was allowed at a pro-gun rally in Boulder, Colorado. The Boulder Police Department said the decision was meant “to avoid conflict” at the event last weekend. American cities have struggled to regulate guns at political rallies since white nationalist demonstrators clashed with anti-racist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer.
A 2-year-old boy shot his 8-year-old brother on Tuesday. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police say the younger boy shot his brother in the arm after finding their father’s loaded gun in a car. The wounded child is expected to recover.
FOR YOUR REFERENCE
City murder rates, ranked.
Because the vast majority of American homicides are committed with guns, both the national murder rate and the more relevant citywide and neighborhood murder rates frequently figure into our reporting at The Trace. Articles we have published on the topic are also among our most-read, largely thanks to readers who have found them through search engines. Today, we’ve collected the most up-to-date statistics on murders in American metropolises — as well as the critical context that often gets missed —in a new one-stop post. The numbers may surprise those new to the subject. (Spoiler: Chicago does not top the list.)