Hello, readers. The Nashville area breathes easier as the suspected Waffle House shooter is taken into custody. But for four families, the nightmare is just beginning. Elsewhere, gun safety advocates work for tougher licensing for gun sellers, better background check records, and new regional research on the crisis. Those stories and more, below.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The Waffle House shooting suspect was apprehended in Tennessee. Police arrested 29-year-old Travis Reinking in a wooded area near his apartment in Nashville. He is accused of killing four people at a Waffle House on Sunday morning. The victims, who were all in their 20s, include a local rapper, a subcontractor for a moving company, a line cook, and a social work student. Here’s what we know about them.
New from The Trace: Lawmakers and gun reform advocates in Illinois are working to override the veto of a gun safety bill. The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would require all gun dealers in Illinois to be licensed by the state. Following a protracted fight, the bill cleared the state Legislature shortly after Parkland, only to be vetoed by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who was then facing a primary challenger. Now, the state Senate has until tomorrow to initiate an override. Read our briefing from Trace contributor Timothy McLaughlin.
Six states and Puerto Rico team up to study gun violence. New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, and Puerto Rico, will come together to conduct firearms research. The consortium is part of the “States for Gun Safety” coalition announced in February, which will also collect and share law enforcement data on crime guns in an effort to combat firearm trafficking.
Governor John Kasich of Ohio signed an executive order to strengthen the state’s reporting to the gun background check system. “In too many communities, convictions aren’t uploaded to the National [Instant] Criminal Background Check system as they should be,” he said in a tweet. The order reinstates a committee that will conduct audits of local jurisdictions to ensure that they accurately and consistently report the names of people banned from owning weapons to NICS.
Celebrities have partnered with Parkland student activists to launch an anti-NRA campaign. The No Rifle Association initiative (#NoRA) seeks to reduce the political influence of the National Rifle Association by exposing the influence of NRA money in politics, while also “raising the voices of all victims of gun violence,” according to a letter to the NRA leader Wayne LaPierre signed by more than 130 celebrities and activists.
Students in Arizona held a lie-in to call for stricter gun laws. The high-schoolers staged the demonstration on Friday after Governor Doug Ducey refused their formal request to meet. A small group of counter-protesters also gathered nearby.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer is picking a fight with a cooler company. In a letter posted to the NRA website on Saturday, Hammer slammed Yeti coolers for ending a business relationship with the NRA Foundation, saying the company “declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.” Yeti professed itself confused, posting a Facebook statement explaining that the NRA Foundation was merely one of multiple clients of a discount program that the company had phased out, and that it had offered the NRA access to the new program that’s replacing the old one. “YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment,” the statement reads.
YouTube will begin enforcing new rules restricting gun-related content this week. Gun video bloggers are scrambling to find new platforms for their content.
Two Florida sheriff’s deputies were killed in an ambush shooting last Thursday. Sergeant Noel Ramirez, 29, and Deputy Taylor Lindsey, 25, were dining at a Chinese restaurant in Trenton, Florida, on Thursday afternoon when a gunman ambushed them. The shooter, a 59-year-old who moved to the nearby town of Bell in 2010, killed himself in his parked car outside the restaurant. The motive for the shooting remains unclear. At least 19 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty this year, according to this CNN count.
FROM THE TRACE ARCHIVES
At least 206,000 students have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since Columbine. The Washington Post calculated and released the updated figure last week as part of its sustained coverage of how gun violence affects kids. As The Trace has noted, more so than their peers in similar countries, children in the United States are at heightened risk of getting shot, both in public and private spaces, and in both deliberate assaults and unintentional discharges. You can find the essential data in our reader resource, “14 Facts that Show How Gun Violence Affects American Kids.”