Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[AP/Matt Stroud]

Daily Bulletin: Four States Missed a Deadline to Submit Plans to Improve Background Check Reporting

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A tip from classmates helped stop a shooting planned for a Pennsylvania high school. A judge sentenced an Indiana woman to four years in prison for allowing her son to bring a gun to school. And two states are trying to stiffen penalties for parents who store their guns within reach of children.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: The ATF’s top boss will retire at the end of this month. Thomas Brandon, who has led the bureau since 2015, will leave his post on April 30, officials confirmed. Brandon recently told a congressional committee that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is due to lose more than 375 staffers to retirement, but would not have funds to replace them under the White House’s proposed budget for next year. The ATF has not yet announced his replacement. Alex Yablon has the story here.​

Four states missed a deadline to submit plans to improve background check reporting. Under the Fix NICS Act, states were given one year to develop a plan for improving the data they submit to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. One week after the March 25 deadline, 46 states have submitted their plans, according to the Department of Justice. The department did not specify which states failed to meet the deadline. 

No one will be prosecuted for a Texas shootout that left nine people dead and 20 injured. McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson dropped the remaining charges against the bikers involved in armed clash at a Waco restaurant in 2015. Shortly after the shooting, the county’s former DA had issued more than 150 indictments against members of the two biker gangs involved. But Johnson says his predecessor failed to assess the evidence in a timely manner.

Montana lawmakers passed a bill prohibiting cities and towns from enacting their own gun rules. The measure, which advanced Tuesday, makes it illegal for cities to enact gun legislation stricter than the state standard. It’s now headed to the governor’s desk for a signature. Explainer: Here’s what to know about National Rifle Association-backed pre-emption laws.

Parents of an unintentional shooting victim are pushing for a safe storage bill in Nevada. Thirteen-year-old Brooklynn Mohler was killed in 2013 after a friend got hot of a gun in a kitchen cabinet of the house where they were playing together. No one was held responsible for her death. Mohler’s parents are supporting a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to leave guns stored where a child could access them. “We need to stop allowing people to say they’re responsible gun owners, without holding them accountable,” her father said.

Another safe-storage bill has been filed in Texas. The bipartisan measure would increase criminal penalties for gun owners who fail to store their weapons out of reach of children as required by state law. Nearly 200,000 Texas kids live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns, according to a gun violence prevention organization. Nationwide, that number is close to 4.6 million.

A school shooting was thwarted in Pennsylvania. Two students are in custody after police in the town of Brookville, 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, say they found detailed plans for an attack. Classmates came forward Friday evening with a tip about the shooting plot, which was planned for Monday. The suspects are being held in a juvenile facility and are facing charges of terroristic threats, harassment, and disorderly conduct. Related: The student who shot his classmate in Arkansas on Monday shared his plan on social media beforehand, a district parent says. The 14-year-old shooter reportedly posed with a gun on Snapchat and told his followers what he was planning to do, but most students ignored it, assuming it was an April Fools’ prank.

An Indiana woman was sentenced to four years in prison after her son brought a gun to school. The woman pleaded guilty last month to allowing her son to carry a gun. At sentencing, the judge told the woman that she had “failed” as a parent and that she had placed the entire high school community in danger.

ONE LAST THING

The Capital Gazette staff won an award for their coverage the shooting that killed their colleagues. The staffs of The Capital Gazette and The Baltimore Sun were honored with the Al Neuharth Breaking News Reporting Award on Tuesday for covering the shooting in their own newsroom in June. “The journalists put their mission above their misery to inform the public, honor their fallen friends, and still somehow ‘put out a damn paper,’” the judges said in a statement.