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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Final Parkland Commission Report Gives Gun Reform Short Shrift

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A white motorist in Texas is at large after firing on a black family and killing a child. Celebratory gunfire rained down on homes, cars, and people across the country on New Year’s Eve. And in its final report, the commission investigating the Parkland massacre focused on procedural and law enforcement failures — not gun access.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Celebratory gunfire wounded several people across the country on New Year’s Eve. At least eight people were hit, one fatally, when bullets fired into the air came back to earth on Monday night and Tuesday morning. At least three of them were children: In Atlanta, a 9-year-old boy was hit in the stomach with a stray bullet while setting off fireworks with his family. In Baltimore, a 14-year-old boy was grazed by a bullet that police believe was fired in celebration. And in California, a 6-year-old girl was hit in the head while playing in her backyard. Residents in several cities compared the experience to being in a war zone.

The final Parkland commission report calls for more armed teachers and the immediate implementation of several key security measures. The authors of the report, which was unanimously approved on Wednesday, said one school resource officer per campus is inadequate, and suggest that the armed Guardian Program be opened to all K-12 personnel. The report also said schools must keep campus gates and classroom doors locked, and ordered them to develop a formal “code red” emergency response policy. Prior to the report’s release, the Broward County sheriff told the commission that school deputies have received eight hours of active shooter training and more powerful guns since last February’s massacre.

The NRA continues to expand its reach beyond U.S. borders. The National Rifle Association is broadening its efforts in counties including Brazil, Russia, and Australia, in what some see as an attempt to shore up the international firearms market.

New York’s governor earmarked $3 million for street-level violence interruption. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the funds will go to nonprofit groups in the Bronx and six upstate cities that deploy community members to stop retaliatory violence. The method, known as the “Cure Violence” model, also connects at-risk youth to services and programs. As The Trace has reported, researchers and community leaders credit Cure Violence with helping to slow shootings in Chicago and New York City.

A white motorist fired on a black family in Houston, killing a 7-year-old girl. Someone pulled up alongside LaPorsha Washington as she made her morning coffee run on Sunday and opened fire, killing her 7-year-old daughter, Jazmine Barnes. Police said the shooting was unprovoked and vowed to find the gunman, who is at large. Washington, who was wounded, said the shooting was “intentional” and begged the killer to surrender: “You caused harm. You hurt. You took. You don’t deserve to be out there to take another life.”

Texas cops may have prevented a shooting at a Baptist church. An armed man dressed in tactical-style clothing was arrested last week after telling an off-duty police officer in Seguin that he was on his way to the First Baptist Church of Vidor — 240 miles away — to “fulfill a prophecy.” A witness called 911 after seeing the man with a handgun, which police said was stolen from a home.

Trauma surgeons found that handguns are deadlier than rifles in mass shootings. A team at the George Washington University Center for Trauma and Critical Care in Washington, D.C., analyzed autopsies from 23 mass shootings between 2000 and 2016 and discovered that while semiautomatic rifles resulted in more people shot, handguns resulted in more deaths. One possible reason: Pistols provide a shorter distance between gunman and victim, resulting in greater accuracy and a higher likelihood of hitting vital organs. From The Trace archives: Pistols were used twice as often as rifles in active shootings between 2000 and 2015.

A Marine died in an accidental shooting at a barracks in Washington, D.C., on New Year’s Day. Lance Cpl. Riley S. Kuznia, 20, was killed when a fellow Marine discharged a gun on Tuesday. It’s at least the third unintentional shooting there in the last five years: In June, a Marine was wounded when he negligently discharged his weapon, and in 2013, Lance Cpl. Cody S. Schoenfelder, 19, died after shooting himself in the head.

A 5-year-old in North Carolina shot himself at a Wendy’s drive-thru. The boy unbuckled his car seat, grabbed a .45 from a pocket on the back of the front passenger seat, and shot himself in the face on Sunday. He is in critical condition. The gun belongs to the child’s father, who said he stashed it there while vacuuming two days earlier and forgot about it. The man cautioned other gun owners to not repeat his mistake.

ONE LAST THING

School lockdowns are traumatizing kids. Here’s the data to prove it. In an unprecedented analysis of news coverage and school district data, The Washington Post found that at least four million K-12 students experienced a lockdown in the United States during the 2017-2018 school year — more than the combined populations of Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Educators report that lockdowns can go on for hours, often with little explanation or aftercare, which instills trauma that can be as severe as that which follows an actual shooting. “The sudden order to hunker down can overwhelm students, who have wept and soiled themselves, written farewell messages to family members and wills explaining what should be done with their bicycles and PlayStations,” Steven Rich and John Woodrow Cox write.