Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Protesters attach a chain to a statue of Spanish conquerer Juan de Oñate in Albuquerque, N.M., Monday, June 15, 2020. [Anthony Jackson/The Albuquerque Journal via AP]

Daily Bulletin: Man Shot During Protest Over Spanish Conquistador’s Statue

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The removal of a statue leads to gunfire in New Mexico. And the Supreme Court opted against ruling on a gun case this session, handing a defeat to the National Rifle Association and other advocacy groups. Your Tuesday roundup begins below.

WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Protester shot during New Mexico rally to remove statute of Spanish conquistador. Demonstrators were attempting to dismantle a monument to Juan de Oñate outside the Albuquerque Museum on Monday night when a confrontation erupted and gunfire rang out. One man one was shot and seriously wounded. Police detained several members of a right-wing militia, the New Mexico Civil Guard, which had been patrolling the area around the statute of the 16th century colonial governor. It is not clear if the gunman was a member of the group. The FBI is investigating. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she was “horrified and disgusted beyond words” at the violence, and called the militia “an unsanctioned show of unregulated force.” She added: “Let me clear: There is absolutely no space in New Mexico for any violent would-be ‘militia’ seeking to terrorize New Mexicans.”

Related: Armed counter-protesters clashed with Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Ohio. The counter-protesters showed up to a rally in Bethel on Sunday and yelled obscenities, ripped up signs, and attacked several demonstrators, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. Among the counter-protesters, local officials said, were “several motorcycle gangs, back-the-blue groups, and Second Amendment advocates.” One attendee said: “I was really scared because they were carrying guns and they were so aggressive. They were grabbing me and grabbing my mom and they just seemed to have no respect for the law.”

The Supreme Court rejected nearly a dozen gun cases this session. The justices delivered major decisions concerning LGBTQ+ rights and immigration on Monday, but declined to hear 10 Second Amendment cases. Constitutional law professor Adam Winkler called it “a major setback to the gun rights movement.” Four of the court’s conservative members had publicly indicated that SCOTUS needed to take another gun case soon, Winkler noted, and it only takes four votes to grant cert. The justices were expected to pick up at least one of the cases; the fact that they passed on all 10 options, he said, “is likely due to Chief Justice [John] Roberts, who apparently isn’t in favor of broadly expanding the scope of the Second Amendment.” Read more of Winkler’s thoughts here.

Rayshard Brooks’s family calls for justice at emotional press conference. Several relatives took a lectern on Monday to remember the 27-year-old, who was shot and killed by police in Atlanta last week. An attorney for the family, L. Chris Stewart, addressed critics who slammed Brooks for resisting when officers tried to place him in handcuffs: “They put George Floyd in handcuffs, and he was subsequently killed. So just getting put in handcuffs if you’re African-American doesn’t mean you’re going to get nicely taken to the back of a police car.” The 20-minute news conference ended after several of Brooks’s loved ones dissolved into tears. “Sadly, I’m probably going to be back here in a few months with another case,” Stewart told reporters. ICYMI: How guns shape every encounter with law enforcement, especially when those interactions involve Black people.

NYPD to disband plainclothes anti-crime unit. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on Monday that he is eliminating the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime unit and transitioning 600 plainclothes officers into community policing and detective work. The officers routinely stopped and searched people for weapons and made many of the city’s gun arrests; they also have a history of high-profile shootings. Shea called it “a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city,” and said it closed “one of the last chapters of ‘stop, question and frisk.’”

More evidence that child access prevention laws lower gun deaths. A new study from researchers at Princeton University examines the effect of three gun policies on firearms deaths. It found that child access prevention laws – which hold adults liable if their guns are unsafely stored and used by minors — were the most effective type of policy for reducing gun deaths. According to the paper, if all 50 states had a CAP law, some 2,500 fewer people would die annually. The study also found that right-to-carry laws and “stand your ground” laws were each associated with a 3 percent increase in gun deaths.

Colorado man arrested for holding roofing company salesmen at gunpoint — because he thought they were followers of Antifa. The 65-year-old suspect was reportedly wearing tactical gear and armed with two pistols when he confronted the two employees near his home in Loveland and ordered them to the ground. He called the police, saying the two were recruiting for the anti-fascist movement; in reality, they had been going door-to-door after a recent hail storm. One of the roofing company employees, identified as a person of color, is a football player at Colorado State University. The suspect was charged with two counts of felony menacing and two counts of false imprisonment.

DATA POINT

As of June 15, there have been at least 198 mass shootings, defined as an incident with four or more people wounded or killed, so far this year. By the same date last year, there had been 169. Gun Violence Archive