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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: GOP Senators May Reject Trump’s ATF Pick

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A Congressional hearing on gun violence brought moving testimony on its hidden costs. That story and more in your end-of-week roundup.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A retiring Republican Senator wants to allot $75 million for federal gun violence research. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who’s stepping down at the end of the year, introduced a bill on Thursday that would give the money to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over five years to research factors that contribute to “seemingly random mass violence.” Senate Republicans have so far omitted a $50 million appropriation for gun violence research from their version of the budget bill the House passed in July.

GOP senators may reject Trump’s ATF pick. Senate sources say Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are troubled by Chuck Canterbury’s past support for expanding gun background checks, and a vote scheduled for today on his nomination as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was postponed. Canterbury, the longtime president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, got backlash from GOP senators during his confirmation hearing last month after evading questions about his gun policy positions.

A House committee held a hearing on community gun violence. On the second day of congressional hearings about gun violence, the House Oversight Subcommittee heard from shooting survivors, physicians, and lawmakers who spoke of the human costs of the epidemic, its disproportionate impact on communities of color, and the lifelong care required for survivors. Arizona state Representative Jennifer Longdon, who has used a wheelchair since she was shot in 2004, told the committee: “I am dying in slow motion. My life will be cut short by the complications of my gunshot wound.”

Chicago gun violence survivors press Mitch McConnell’s office on background checks. The group, who’d traveled to the Capitol for Wednesday’s National Rally to End Gun Violence, insisted on speaking to the Senate majority leader about his refusal this far take up the House’s universal background check bill. In his office they were greeted by his legal counsel Tiffany Ge, who spent more than an hour listening to their stories, as well as entreaties by congressional Democrats in attendance. Ge told them, “we are waiting to get a proposal from the White House” before acting on the bill.

Mental health records reporting to the gun background check system has spiked 241 percent since 2013. That’s according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which said in a press release on Wednesday that state submissions of adjudicated mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System have risen dramatically, from 1.7 million in 2013 to 5.6 million today.

A 2-year-old died in an accidental shooting in Missouri. The toddler found an unsecured gun belonging to his father, a security guard, in their Gladstone apartment on Tuesday. “He thought he had unloaded his gun and put it up,” the man’s mother said. The child’s parents, who were home at the time, are not facing charges, police said.

DATA POINT

Firearms are used in only 6 percent of suicide attempts, but due to their destructive power, approximately 85 percent of suicides attempted with a gun end in death. [Stat]