Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Outside of the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale, Arizona, where an assailant shot three people on May 20, 2020. [AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FILE]

Daily Bulletin: America Is Reopening, and Active Shootings Have Resumed

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An active shooter injured three people at a suburban Phoenix mall. The assailant opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle around 7:30 pm local time at the Westgate Entertainment District, a shopping and dining complex in Glendale. One of the victims was reportedly in critical condition, and two others were treated for lesser injuries. The barrage was over by the time officers arrived and took the shooter into custody, according to a police spokesperson. The mall just reopened last week.

Meanwhile, an active shooter was “neutralized” at a U.S. Navy air base in Texas. The Thursday morning incident at Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi left one person injured, according to Naval Security Forces. The base was on lockdown, but details were otherwise sparse.

Trump withdraws ATF nominee who drew pushback from gun rights activists. As head of the National Fraternal Order of Police, Chuck Canterbury supported expanding gun background checks. During his confirmation hearing last year, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee he was opposed to making checks universal but said he would consult career officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Justice Department  on how to deploy the bureau’s enforcement and regulatory power. President Trump renominated Canterbury in February, but reversed course this week in the face of renewed opposition, a White House official told Politico.

Chicago community groups strained by COVID receive $1 million boost. The grants from the Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities will go to 164 neighborhood organizations planning summer activities in 21 high-crime communities on the city’s South and West Sides. Some of the funding will be used on PPE and virtual programming. “In this unprecedented time, these resources are even more important to sustaining and building strong community bonds, social cohesion and reducing gun violence,” said a community leader involved in the funding effort.

Michigan lawmakers make another bid to ban guns in the Capitol. A new House resolution is the latest attempt by Democrats to prohibit bringing firearms into the building, which was the site of an armed demonstration on April 30. “The presence of firearms is meant to intimidate legislators, interrupt the democratic process and block the ability of legislators to properly represent their constituents,’’ it reads. The Michigan State Capitol Commission is currently deliberating whether to ban guns in the facility.

New study questions the “Ferguson effect.” When the national homicide rate spiked in 2015 after more than two decades of sustained declines, some conservative politicians, commentators, and law enforcement officials attributed the rise to a slowdown in police activity. Their theory: Following the anti-police protests that erupted after the killing of Michael Brown outside St. Louis, officers were more reluctant to engage in proactive law enforcement. Researchers from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation have poked fresh holes in that hypothesis with a new analysis. If a police pullback had occurred, it should have produced a precipitous drop in arrests from 2014 to 2015, particularly in black neighborhoods. Examining arrest rates in 53 major American cities between 2010 and 2015, they found no such decline. Read the full report here.

Similarly, violence against police has not increased significantly. Criminologists Justin Nix and Michael Sierra-Arévalo analyzed shooting data collected by Gun Violence Archive between 2014 and 2019. While they observed a spike in firearm assaults against officers in 2016, they did not find a sustained increase over the six-year period. “Despite some single-year spikes, there is no evidence of a longitudinal increase in ambushes against police,” they write in a post summarizing their work, noting that other studies have reached similar conclusion. The scholars did note wide divergence between firearm assaults against police at the state level, with the highest rates in Mississippi and New Mexico.

Reminder: We’re surveying first-time gun owners. If you’ve bought a weapon because of the coronavirus crisis, please tell us your story.

DATA POINT

15,000+ rounds — the size of an ammunition stockpile seized by a special California law enforcement unit during a recent sweep of residents flagged after failing ammunition background checks. The 2016 law requiring vetting for bullet purchases is currently being challenged in court. — Sacramento Bee