Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: 1 Student Killed, 8 Injured in Colorado School Shooting

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A deadly shooting rocked a K-12 school not far from Columbine. We have a link to the local coverage, plus details from our latest scoop on the NRA’s spending.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

One student was killed and eight others were injured in a Colorado school shooting. Two students armed with handguns opened fire inside the K-12 STEM School in Highlands Ranch just south of Denver around 2 p.m. local time. The victims were all high school students, one of whom later died from his injuries. The suspects were taken into custody within two minutes of reports of shots fired, the Douglas County Sheriff said. It was the fourth school shooting in Colorado since Columbine, 20 years ago, according to The Denver Post.

NEW from The Trace: Another internal NRA memo reveals new details about leadership’s unexplained spending and conflicts of interest. Mike Spies’s latest scoop, in partnership with The New Yorker, offers further details on the financial improprieties occurring inside the National Rifle Association, as described in our investigation published last month. Among the arrangements flagged by the organization’s in-house accountants on a list of “top concerns”: “permanent” relocation expenses for executives; a $1.8 million house rental, and a fundraising vendor that used code names for invoices while employing the wife of an NRA officer.

House appropriators demand clarification on federal funding for armed teachers. In a new appropriations bill, Democrats asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to declare that federal education money can’t go toward guns or firearm training. DeVos has previously denied having the authority to make that determination, despite internal department guidance saying otherwise. Today, the Appropriations Committee is set to mark up the bill, which also provides $50 million in funding for gun violence research.

Higher minimum wages may be linked with decreased suicide rates. That’s according to a working paper from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. They looked at two policies — raising the minimum wage and raising the earned-income tax credit — and found that both resulted in a 3 to 5 percent decrease in the suicide rate. If implemented nationwide, a 10 percent increase in each could prevent about 1,230 suicides annually, they said.

Washington’s Democratic governor signed two new gun bills. The new laws ban 3D-printed guns and expand the state’s extreme risk protection order (ERPO) law to try to make it easier to stop school shootings and teen suicides, by clarifying that ERPOs can be used to compel parents of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or others to safely secure firearms.

The governor of Montana vetoed two pro-gun bills. One of the measures rejected by Democrat Steve Bullock would have allowed state lawmakers to carry guns into public buildings with a permit. Another would have prevented local governments from passing their own gun restrictions. A ballot measure with language identical to the latter bill will appear before voters on the 2020 ballot.

Lead contamination from a gun range shut down a California youth gymnastics studio. Both businesses were forced to close after Santa Clara County environmental health inspectors found elevated levels of lead. They suspect that the lead particles spread into the gymnastics studio through the ventilation system of the neighboring gun range. From The Trace archives: Gun ranges produce thousands of tons of toxic pollution every year, but are largely free of health and environmental regulations.

A bartender was arrested last week for serving the perpetrator of a 2017 shooting spree. Spencer Hight’s blood alcohol level was reportedly four times the legal limit when he left the bar and drove to his ex-wife’s home in Plano, Texas, and killed eight people. Nearly two years later, police arrested the bartender, alleging that she violated Texas’s “Sale to Certain Persons” law, which prohibits people from providing alcohol to “an habitual drunkard or an intoxicated or insane person.”

Two active-duty military members were killed in a double murder-suicide at a Virginia 7-Eleven. Police found the bodies of Shianne Soles, 19, and Meaghan Burns, 23, at the Portsmouth convenience store late Saturday. Both women were stationed at the local Naval Medical Center. The suspected killer, also an active-duty service member, was found dead in a nearby parking lot.

ONE LAST THING

New bodycam footage raises questions about a March police shooting in Oklahoma. The video, obtained by The Washington Post, shows an Oklahoma City police sergeant shooting a black 14-year-old boy while responding to a 911 call about a break-in. In the video, the officer says, “I think it’s a cap gun,” a type of toy replica gun, moments before firing. The young man, who survived two bullets, says he and his friends had been playing with airsoft guns before the shooting happened, but did not have one on him when he was shot. Police officials say they are awaiting the results of an internal investigation into the incident, but these types of reviews rarely produce meaningful results, the Post found.