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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: ‘We Lost Some Good People’: Kansas Mass Shooting Kills Four

Good morning, Bulletin readers. When a new gun law passes, we let you know, because, well, it’s obviously news. But how those laws are implemented is the other part of the story. Today, we follow up on our earlier reporting on a unique suicide-prevention tool in Washington State, where residents who’ve tried to use the measure have run into local officials who’ve never heard of it.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Nine people were shot in a Kansas City, Kansas, bar. About 40 people were inside Tequila KC Bar early Sunday when gunfire broke out, killing four and leaving five others injured. All of the fatalities are believed to be Hispanic men ranging in age from their 20s to 50s. Police do not believe the attack was racially motivated, but instead may have stemmed from an earlier altercation. Authorities have apprehended one suspect and are looking for another. “We lost some good people, young people.” Witnesses and loved ones are beginning to share stories about the victims, including a young man who died in his fiancée’s arms.

A key witness in a police shooting was gunned down. Joshua Brown, 28, testified for the prosecution in the trial of a white former police officer in Dallas who fatally shot her black neighbor, Botham Jean. On Friday night, Brown was shot to death in a reported ambush. The officer, Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison just two days earlier. “Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence,” a lawyer representing Jean’s family wrote on Facebook. “Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family.”

NEW from THE TRACE: An innovative tool for reducing gun suicides is fizzling in Washington state. The problem: Local officials don’t seem to be aware that the “no buy” list exists. Champe Barton contacted clerks in all 39 of Washington’s counties. Eleven hadn’t heard of the new law, which allows residents grappling with depression or other mental illnesses to voluntarily ban themselves from buying guns. (You can read our original article on the unique policy here.) A third of the state’s county clerks said they didn’t have the required sign-up forms on hand, though they are required to make those documents available. Said one suicide prevention researcher of the law’s faltering roll-out: “It’s not serving its intended life-saving potential if it’s not being implemented.”

Local officials in St. Louis approved $5 million for a violence interruption program. The Board of Aldermen awarded the funding on Friday for Cure Violence, a nationally recognized anti-violence program that deploys outreach workers to de-escalate street conflicts. As The Trace has reported, the city fast-tracked the contract after more than a dozen kids were killed by gun violence this past summer.

Ohio’s governor is set to release details about his gun proposals today. Republican Mike DeWine will unveil draft language for bills that will expand background checks and establish a red flag law, among other policies in his 17-point-plan.

Two Sandy Hook parents were shut down by Connecticut’s highest court. The state Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a suit brought by the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner against the city of Newtown and its school district.

A Georgia police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed black man. Zechariah Presley, a former police officer in Camden County, was found not guilty of manslaughter but guilty of violating his oath of office for shooting Tony Green, 33, as he fled last year. Presley tried to invoke a “stand your ground” defense but was denied.

DATA POINT

Of the 132,823 guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico from 2009 to 2018, 70 percent originated in the United States. [Los Angeles Times]