Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Democrat Lucy McBath, who is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia's 6th Congressional District speaks during a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Daily Bulletin: Gun Violence Activist to Represent Georgia in Congress

Hello, readers. One of the final races to be decided in the 2018 midterms produced a dramatic shift in Georgia, where the Congressional seat once occupied by Newt Gingrich will now be held by a Democrat who ran on her work and life story as a gun reform advocate. That news, along with other notable outcomes from Tuesday’s vote, continues below.

The mother of a shooting victim won a Congressional seat. In Georgia, Lucy McBath, a black woman whose teenage son was fatally shot by a white man over “loud music” in 2012, declared victory on Wednesday over incumbent Republican Karen Handel, who conceded this morning. The district, Georgia’s 6th, was represented by Newt Gingrich in the 1990s.

And a man whose son was killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting was elected to the Colorado Legislature. Tom Sullivan, a gun reform advocate, defeated a Republican with an A-rating from the NRA.

A clear majority of midterm voters favored stricter gun laws, according to an NBC News exit poll. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they support tighter regulations on firearms; that includes 42 percent of gun owners and 76 percent of non-gun owners. Ten percent of voters said gun policy was their number one issue, 70 percent of whom voted Democratic.

County gun rights ordinances passed in Oregon with the help of militia groups. Militia groups celebrated a victory on Tuesday when voters in eight counties approved a ballot measure declaring the right to own semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, regardless of state or federal law. Two right-wing militia groups — the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers — campaigned for the ordinance across the state. From The Trace archives: Right-wing militias are becoming increasingly active in local politics. In 2017, Alex Yablon wrote about how chapters of  Three Percenters and Oath Keepers have emerged as political players, providing security for local pro-Trump politicians and Republican organizations.

The Supreme Court refused to hear a concealed-carry case. On Monday, the court turned away a challenge to a California law that allows sheriffs to deny concealed-carry permits for good cause. The challenge, brought by two Californians who were refused licenses more than a decade ago, alleges that they were deprived of their Second Amendment rights and equal protection under the law. After their case was dismissed, they appealed to a higher court, which upheld the dismissal. The Supreme Court then turned it away.

A man was killed by police who came to take his guns under Maryland’s new “red flag” law. Gary Willis, 61, answered the door with a gun in his hand when police arrived to disarm him during a pre-dawn visit on Monday. After struggling with officers over the gun, one of them shot him. A family member made the call to police requesting an extreme risk protective order. Another family member said officers should have negotiated with Willis longer.

A grieving family is pushing for a law that would make it illegal for off-duty cops to drink while armed. Two years after an intoxicated off-duty police officer fatally shot Michael Gaffney, 37, during a bar fight in New Jersey, the victim’s family wants lawmakers to take up “Gaffney’s Law,” a bill that would implement criminal penalties for off-duty officers who drink while carrying concealed guns. “This never should have happened to Michael. It should have already been a law,” Gaffney’s mother said.