Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Andrew Spear for The Trace]

Daily Bulletin: Armed Teachers Could Be Coming to Florida Classrooms

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Florida lawmakers look set to give the NRA a win on one of the most divisive post-Parkland gun policy fights. Meanwhile, the city of Parkland itself has become polarized by a different political debate.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Florida lawmakers passed a measure that paves the way for armed teachers. The bill passed Tuesday in the state Senate would expand the school “Guardian” program created after the Parkland shooting by allowing classroom teachers to carry guns after undergoing screening and training from the sheriff’s office. The bill is given a good chance of passing the House, and Florida’s Republican governor has indicated he would sign it.

Facing legal action, an Oklahoma gun range has agreed to serve Muslim customers. An Oklahoma state worker and member of the U.S. Army Reserves sued the establishment in 2016 after he was asked to leave the premises due to his Muslim faith. The ACLU-backed suit was recently dismissed after the business agreed to remove a sign that read: “This privately owned business is a Muslim-free establishment. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”

Kamala Harris vows executive actions on gun control if elected to the White House. The California Senator and Democratic presidential candidate unveiled her plan during a CNN town hall: Should she win the 2020 election, and Congress fails to act during her first 100 days in office, Harris pledges to use executive authority to enact universal background checks, shut down and fine scofflaw gun makers and dealers, close the “boyfriend loophole” that allows abusers in dating relationships to have guns, and more. Harris recently revealed that she owns a gun for protection. The Hill sees her declaration as the latest sign of how much the politics of gun reform have shifted leftward.

Arizona public safety officers have been carrying defective firearms. In 2015, the Arizona Department of Public Safety began phasing out its Sig Sauer pistols and replacing them with FN firearms in what was described as a money-saving move. More than three years later, the department discovered that some of the new pistols fire accidentally or not at all. Since then, the state has been quietly replacing the roughly 1,500 new guns, at a cost of $160,000 this fiscal year alone.

The Colorado Supreme Court will hear a case challenging a ban on high-capacity magazines. The court announced Monday that it will weigh in on whether a 2013 Colorado law banning gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition violates the Second Amendment. Local gun rights advocates challenged the law, which was part of a gun reform package passed after the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. Lawsuits challenging magazine limits in other states have failed.

The founder of a confrontational gun rights group testified in favor of a Texas bill that would allow the state to sue tech platforms over alleged political censorship. Open Carry Texas head C.J. Grisham said he believes Facebook “targeted” him for pushing gun rights and shut down 16 of his organization’s local groups without explanation. The measure before the state Senate would apply to any social media platforms that claim to be impartial. Critics say the bill would violate federal law.

An NYPD officer was suspended after a friend killed himself with the officer’s gun. Family members of Officer Martinson Afari Yeboah say he put his gun down on a table on Sunday while playing video games with his best friend, who picked up the weapon and shot himself. Yeboah, who joined the department last April, has since been suspended and will likely lose his job.

ONE LAST THING

A policy dispute is tearing the Parkland community apart, and it has little to do with gun reform. At the center of the controversy is a local school arrest- and suspension-diversion program called PROMISE, according to a new longread from HuffPost Highline. Education reformers have hailed such programs for reducing racial disparities in school punishment and addressing the school-to-prison pipeline. Supporters believe PROMISE inspired federal school discipline reforms by the Obama administration. But conservative thinkers and now some Parkland community members blame Broward County’s program for allowing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooter to slip through the cracks. The bitter debate, journalist Kathryn Joyce writes, has become a microcosm of America’s fractured political landscape.