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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Safety Courses Don’t Protect Kids From Gun Injury, Study Finds

Hello, readers. In today’s briefing: Trump takes a step toward a long-awaited rule change for American gun exports. Plus, what Florida can expect as it begins the process of updating its mental health records for background checks.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

New from The Trace: President Trump wants to make it easier for American gun companies to export firearms, Alex Yablon reports. On Monday, the Trump administration took the first step in a long-gestating plan to transfer oversight of small arms exports from the State Department to the Department of Commerce. Officials say the change will help American gun businesses to compete globally. Critics are concerned that it may harm diplomatic efforts or make it easier for American-made weapons to fall into the wrong hands.

Columbus, Ohio, passes four measures to reduce gun violence. The ordinances include a ban on bump stocks, a ban on the sale of imitation guns to minors, and an expanded definition of domestic violence. Eighty percent of the city’s 143 homicides last year were gun-related, the City Council president said. Just last week, Cincinnati became the first city in Ohio with a bump stock ban. Local gun groups are already eyeing legal action, pointing to a 2007 law that prevents cities from enforcing their own gun regulations.

The family of a Waffle House shooting victim is suing the suspect’s father. The lawsuit filed Monday alleges that the gunman’s dad is partially responsible for the attack. In 2017, police confiscated the suspect’s guns, giving them to his father. Later, his father returned the weapons to him, including the AR-15 used to kill 20-year-old Joe Perez and three others.

The Supreme Court rejects an appeal from California gun-rights advocates. On Monday, the Court left intact a federal appeals court decision that said the Second Amendment doesn’t cover would-be gun sellers. The case was brought by three men who were denied a permit to open a gun store in California.

Two Parkland parents are running for office. Lori Alhadeff and Ryan Petty both lost children in the attack, and on Tuesday, they announced they’re running together for seats on the Broward County School Board. They say they want to make sure Florida’s new gun safety and school security measures are implemented. “I felt an obligation to work on this legislation to honor my daughter and make sure this never happens again,” said Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina was killed in the shooting. Related: In Lindenhurst, New York, an 18-year-old who received a detention slip after participating in her school’s walkout against gun violence in March is running for a seat on her town’s school board.

Gun safety courses are ineffective at protecting children from unintentional gun injury, according to a Rutgers University review. Even those children who initially followed recommended gun safety measures forgot them after a few weeks, the report from the Rutgers School of Nurses foundThe study reaffirmed the findings of earlier, similar reviews. A 2017 report that examined four studies between 1996 and 2016 concluded that behavioral skills training “did not instill consistent safe firearm habits in children.” What should parents do instead? Researchers found that restricting access to guns is the best way to keep kids safe. They suggest safely locking up guns or keeping them out of the home altogether.
From The Trace archives: Here’s Mike Spies’s look into how the NRA blocked a state bill that would have imposed penalties on grownups whose negligent gun storage allows children to access their weapons. It was championed by a Tennessee mother whose 8-year-old daughter was fatally shot by an 11-year-old neighbor, using his father’s gun. Also, read our coverage of Eddie Eagle, the NRA’s gun safety program for children. A 20/20 investigation found that kids have a hard time keeping their hands off of guns, even after they’ve received Eddie Eagle training. The NRA has pointed to the program as an alternative to laws mandating safe storage, but an education professor who was hired by the NRA to develop an Eddie Eagle curriculum told Mike Spies that the program should not be touted as a replacement for gun safety regulations.

ONE LAST THING

The governor of Florida wants a million dollars to help add more mental health records to the state’s gun background check database. The state already had plans to request $94,880 from the Justice Department for a pilot program in Miami-Dade County to improve submissions of mental health records to the database. Now, Governor Rick Scott wants to ask for more. He says the decision came after a Politico report last week about a gap in the background check process that allows people with disqualifying mental health issues to buy weapons in the state. The money would go toward a dozen pilot programs and personnel to process mental health records.

Ross Loder is someone with an idea of what that work may look like behind the scenes. As the administrator responsible for weapons permits at the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Loder personally oversaw the review of 125,000 mental health cases to strengthen his state’s background check system. In April, he told The Trace’s Ann Givens about the grueling process that led to the addition of about 29,000 mental health records to the federal gun background check database. “It was a difficult time,” he told her, “but it was part of what needed to be done.”