What To Know Today

NEW from The Trace: The Buffalo and Uvalde gunmen bought their rifles legally at age 18. Federal law allows people as young as 18 to buy long guns, and only six states —  California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, and Washington — have enacted laws raising the minimum age to 21. New York and Texas, the sites of deadly mass shootings this month, are among 44 states that allow 18-year-olds to buy long guns, including semiautomatic rifles. Our Jennifer Mascia has that story

More details emerge about the Uvalde shooting. Tuesday’s horrific attack left 19 children and two teachers dead and another 17 people injured, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a news conference. Here are additional developments:

  • Shortly beforehand, the shooter sent messages saying what he’d do. A spokesperson for Facebook, renamed Meta last year, said the shooter used one of its platforms to send three private text messages about shooting his grandmother and then shooting at an elementary school, the company learned after the attack. An online acquaintance of the suspect in Germany reported the messages when she saw news of the attack. 
  • The shooter was barricaded inside for about an hour. That was after he first engaged with  police officers outside the school. A State Police official also said that the shooter appeared to drop a backpack full of ammunition after encountering a Uvalde School District police officer. 
  • Beto O’Rourke interrupts governor’s press conference. “The time to stop the next shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing,” said the former congressman, who is challenging Abbott in this fall’s governor’s race.

Remembrances for the victims: Here’s how family reflected upon the 19 students and two teachers who were killed:

  • Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio, 10. “My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll,” her mom, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, wrote on Facebook. “She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.” Her father, Felix, a deputy with the Uvalde County Sheriff’s office, told CNN he was one of many deputies who responded to the scene and said he wanted gun violence to be addressed: “All I can hope is that she’s just not a number,” he said. “This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this, but we are.”

You can find the rest here.

Gunmaker Daniel Defense draws scrutiny for the rifle used by the Uvalde shooter. The Georgia-based weapons manufacturer produced the rifle the suspect allegedly used in the attack; it was one of two weapons he purchased this month. On May 16, the company posted a picture of a young boy holding a rifle to its Twitter account. The company later deleted the photo and restricted its social media accounts after people started circulating the tweet in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. The company’s CEO is scheduled to host a booth at the annual NRA convention this weekend. Related: A judge dismissed the gun industry’s challenge of a New York law that makes it easier to sue gunmakers by sidestepping their federal liability protections

Chuck Schumer says he won’t force immediate vote on gun bills before Memorial Day recess. On Tuesday, the Senate Majority Leader indicated he would soon bring up bills the House last passed in 2021. But on Wednesday, Schumer said he would first wait to see if senators could get any traction on bipartisan talks for a bill that could pass, rather than force a symbolic vote on House-passed bills that are sure to fail in the face of Republican opposition. 

Majority of Americans still support stronger gun restrictions. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll of registered voters taken after the Buffalo shooting but before the Uvalde attack asked how important it is for elected leaders to pass stricter gun control laws. Forty-one percent of voters said it was very important, 18 percent that it was somewhat important, 13 percent that it was not too important, 19 percent that it was not important at all, and 9 percent had no opinion. Thirty seven percent of Republicans also favored more gun restrictions, compared to a large majority of Democrats and a slim majority of independents.

Texas shooting casts shadow on Senate hearing for Steve Dettelbach. President Joe Biden’s second pick to lead the ATF, which hasn’t had a permanent leader since 2015, appeared yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearings were notably less tense than the hearing for Biden’s first pick, David Chipman. In a positive sign for Dettlebach’s confirmation, two Democrats who had been seen as potential barriers to confirmation — Jon Tester and Angus King, who helped sink Chipman — praised his appearance after the hearing.

Listen: Trace reporters discuss the Uvalde shooting. Mike Spies appeared on Democracy Now and PBS NewsHour, where he talked about the NRA and how gun lobbyists have helped foster a culture of gun ownership in the Republican Party. Meanwhile, Jennifer Mascia appeared on the Apple News Today podcast and CNN’s Early Start to talk about the attack and what’s changed (and what hasn’t) after past high-profile mass shootings.

Data Point

138 — the number of shooting incidents — defined as every time a gun is brandished or fired, or when a bullet hits school property — at K-12 schools this year, or almost one per day. That’s according to a database from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. [K-12 School Shooting Database]