Good morning, Bulletin readers. We wake up today to upsetting news from New Zealand, where a hateful man armed with semiautomatic rifles carried out a terror attack reminiscent of the mass shootings targeting houses of worship in Pittsburgh and Charleston. You’ll find links to in-depth coverage of the mosque shootings in Christchurch below.
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49 people were killed in shootings at two New Zealand mosques. Another 48 victims were injured during the attack, which was timed for Friday prayers. The gunman expressed white supremacist beliefs and used military-style rifles. He livestreamed a 17-minute portion of his terror rampage, at one point saying that he did not even bother to aim. “This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. “Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that Sandy Hook families can continue their lawsuit against Remington. Yesterday’s decision comes two years after a Superior Court judge dismissed the suit, saying it ran afoul of a federal law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which shields most gunmakers from liability when their firearms are used in crimes. The families are arguing that Remington “negligently entrusted” weapons of war, like the semiautomatic rifle used in the 2012 massacre, to civilians. From The Trace archives: The plaintiffs are basing their suit around how Remington marketed a military-style weapon to the general public, a legal tactic that may offer a way around the immunity provided by PLCAA.
The deputy director of the ATF says President Trump’s 2020 budget proposal would force the agency to eliminate nearly 400 positions. At a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, Thomas Brandon, the acting head of the agency, said the administration’s proposed 2 percent cut to the Department of Justice, which oversees the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, would severely hinder the already understaffed bureau’s ability to investigate and combat gun violence, particularly in cities. “We’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul to deliver on everything,” Brandon said.
Students from two dozen D.C.-area schools marched to Capitol Hill to call attention to gun violence. To mark the one-year anniversary of last spring’s anti-gun-violence school walkouts, hundreds of Beltway students left class on Thursday morning and marched to Capitol Hill to advocate for tougher gun laws, including H.R. 8, a bill to expand background checks that passed the House last month.
92 percent of high school principals surveyed said their school faces problems related to the threat of gun violence. The stat comes from a UCLA study focusing on political division and incivility among teenagers in the age of Trump, for which 505 high school principals were polled.
A group of men frustrated by gun violence in their Miami neighborhoods have embarked on a hunger strike. Nine men with the Circle of Brotherhood, a nonprofit community service group, launched Operation Hunger Strike last weekend to draw attention to the disproportionate amount of gunfire in their community. Thursday marked the fifth day of their fast. They’re occupying a corner of the violence-plagued Liberty Square neighborhood to try to“reach the hearts and minds of the community with honest dialogue.” One of them told the local NBC station, “I really believe that someone is going to hear about what we’re doing and put down a gun.”