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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: The House is Holding a Hearing Today on Federal Gun Violence Research

Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: Newly released data shows the scope of the “Charleston loophole.” More evidence that weak gun laws can imperil neighboring states. And the latest polling on how many Republicans — and gun owners — support background check expansion.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The House Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing today on the “public health emergency of gun violence.” Testifying on behalf of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Ronald M. Stewart will ask Congress to allot $50 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study gun violence. Also on the witness list: Discredited economist John Lott, a favorite of the National Rifle Association and the gun industry. 

The background check bill that passed the House last week enjoys broad bipartisan support. The latest polling from Quinnipiac shows that 80 percent of Republican voters and 76 percent of gun owners give the universal background check legislation a thumbs-up. Seventy-three percent of those polled said the country is not doing enough to address gun violence. 

New data makes the case for another measure that cleared the House. In 2018, more than 276,000 gun background checks were incomplete after three days, allowing sales to go through before the buyers were cleared. That’s according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained by ThinkProgress. The agency has three business days to complete a background check before a dealer can proceed with the transaction via a “default proceed” sale. The 2018 total represents a slight drop from 2017, when default proceeds reached a record high for at least the fourth straight year. ICYMI: The House passed a bill last week that would extend the time allowed for a background check to 10 days. 

Looser gun laws are linked to higher gun homicide rates in neighboring states. new study from Penn Medicine compared murder rates across states and found that those with strict gun laws had higher murder rates when they bordered states with looser laws. The researchers also found that 65 percent of crime guns recovered in states with the strictest laws came from other states. The findings suggest that gun trafficking across state lines is undermining legislative efforts to curb gun deaths. From The Trace archives: Despite its strong gun restrictions, Chicago has one of the country’s highest homicide rates. Gun trafficking from other states helps explain why.

A Kansas school district settled a lawsuit stemming from last year’s school walkout. Shawnee Mission schools and the American Civil Liberties Union reached a deal in a federal lawsuit alleging that the district violated students’ free speech rights during a gun reform protest last April by taking cameras away from student reporters and threatening disciplinary actions for participating in the walkout or talking about gun violence. The district announced Tuesday that it would adopt new free speech policies as part of its settlement with the ACLU, although the terms of the agreement have not yet been approved by a judge.

A West Virginia man was arrested for stealing guns from an ATF facility. Court records allege that the 52-year-old stole slide parts from a government facility in West Virginia and transported them to Maryland, where he attempted to sell them. He is accused in a separate case of possessing a gun that was reported missing from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives facility.

A woman was killed in a road rage shooting while her two children were in the car. Police say 26-year-old Carolyn Tiger may have been involved in a minor collision on Sunday afternoon in Greensboro, North Carolina, before the driver of another car then pulled out a rifle and opened fire on her vehicle. She was struck by a bullet as she attempted to drive away with her two young children in the backseat. The mother of three later died at the hospital.

ONE LAST THING

At a D.C. after-school program, adults help kids process the trauma of gun violence. The TraRon Center in southeast Washington, D.C., was founded in 2018 as a community anti-violence program and refuge for the youngest residents of the neighborhood, where gunshots frequently ring out. The students work with psychiatrists and other volunteers to work through their individual traumas through art and therapy. “The kids, they want to go outside and play, but they know they can’t,” said one volunteer. “Not yet.”