Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: A Charleston Survivor Testifies at the Attorney General Hearings

Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: After a backlash, Roku has reversed its decision to allow a Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist to stream on its platform. A proponent of gun reform is replacing a self-proclaimed “NRA sellout” as the official in charge of overseeing gun permitting in Florida. Plus, two people are dead and nine wounded after two mass shootings this week.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Two days, two multiple-casualty shootings. In Jacksonville, Florida, on Wednesday morning, one person died and five others were wounded by gunfire. The circumstances surrounding the attack are still under investigation. Police say a car riddled with bullets pulled up to a local hospital around 2 a.m. filled with the victims, one of whom was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Hours earlier in Little Rock, Arkansas, one person died and four others were wounded in a shooting at an ice cream shop. Police say the shooting stemmed from an argument between two men. These were the eight and ninth incidents during the first 16 days of 2019 in which at least four people were killed or wounded by gunfire, according to Gun Violence Archive. The shootings spanned seven states and have left 10 dead and 37 injured.

Streaming platform Roku removed InfoWars. After initially defending its decision to host the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the company booted his program after just two days. InfoWars was dropped months ago from Apple, Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter.

Florida’s troubled gun licensing unit is under new leadership. Incoming Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has tapped Judge Mary Barzee to oversee all concealed-carry permit applications in the state. Barzee is a supporter of gun control who once said she was “100 percent committed to taking on the NRA.” Under previous Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who called himself a “proud NRA sellout,” the office approved permits without running background checks for more than a year.

A relative of the Charleston church shooting victims testified at William Barr’s confirmation hearing. The Reverend Sharon Risher, who lost her mother and two cousins in the Emanuel AME Church massacre in 2015, spoke about the need for stronger gun laws during Wednesday’s U.S. Senate hearing on President Trump’s Attorney General appointee. “To break this pattern of senseless gun violence we need stronger gun laws and an attorney general committed to protecting Americans from gun violence and hatred,” she said. Barr has said he supports restricting gun ownership for people with mental illness. Earlier this week, Barr told senators that he would approve of stronger federal laws to help keep guns out of the hands of people who suffer from mental illness. “That should be priority Number One, and it’s going to take some hard work,” he said, emphasizing that he is generally opposed to gun control measures. From The Trace archives: How blaming gun violence on the unpredictable actions of the mentally ill can sidetrack a push for more meaningful policy solutions.

New York busted a multistate gun trafficking ring. State Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday the takedown of smugglers who brought guns in from neighboring Pennsylvania and resold them on the streets of New York. The alleged gun runners transported assault weapons, semiautomatic pistols, an untraceable “ghost gun,” and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. “Even though New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, lax gun laws in our neighboring states jeopardize our safety,” James said in a press release. 

North Dakota is considering a “red flag” law. A bipartisan group of North Dakota lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow family members and law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily remove guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. The proposal is backed by local law enforcement and education officials for its potential to prevent school shootings and suicides. The National Rifle Association has already come out against the law, saying it violates due process and fails to provide mental health treatment. 

A Texas woman unintentionally killed her boyfriend while posing for a selfie with a gun. The 20-year-old woman told police that the couple were “trying to be like Bonnie and Clyde” in a Snapchat photo when the gun went off. Two children were in the home at the time. 

A California man was shot to death at a vigil for a friend who was killed by gun violence. The 40-year-old father of four was shot Saturday night while paying his respects at the San Francisco intersection where his friend had been killed less than 24 hours earlier. Another man was also wounded in the gunfire on Saturday, police said. No arrests have been made in either shooting.

ONE LAST THING

The lieutenant governor of Washington State skipped a speech over fear of guns in the capitol. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, declined to preside over the governor’s State of the State speech on Tuesday because of a policy that allows people to carry concealed weapons in public galleries. Habib said that, although there was no specific threat, he felt that the policy left him and others vulnerable. For years, pro-gun advocates have waged a campaign to eradicate gun bans in public places, including government buildings. Second Amendment rights should be unfettered, they say — especially in spaces funded by taxpayer dollars. But others argue that citizens shouldn’t have to worry about their safety while participating in democracy.