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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Gun Activists Threaten State Republican Lawmakers Who Balk at Extreme Bills

Good morning, Bulletin readers. The Columbine shooting was 20 years ago this month. The school’s former principal has made it his mission to call the heads of every school that has been affected by a deadly on-campus shooting. Learn more about his crusade, and other developments of note, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A South Carolina Republican was threatened online for not advancing a permitless carry bill. State Representative Peter McCoy said police were monitoring his home after a threatening Facebook comment was posted on a local gun rights page. It read: “Totally sucks that one guy has that much control. Maybe we should shoot him?” The comment has since been removed by the page administrators, who say that they do not advocate “even the hint of a threat of violence.” Meanwhile, in Texas: A gun rights activist agitating for the passage of a permitless carry bill turned up at the home of the GOP state House Speaker, where he was met by police.

Principals of schools rocked by shootings have formed a support network. The Principals Recovery Network launched last week. The group is an outgrowth of an effort by Frank DeAngelis, who led Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre, to call all high school principals who since then have found themselves in the same position. It’s grown to 17 members, including principals from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and Sparks Middle School in Nevada.

Major mass shootings have only a small effect on voting behavior in the communities most affected. That’s according to a Washington Post analysis of election returns following Sandy Hook and the six deadliest mass shootings that have taken place since. The findings showed a modest swing toward Democratic candidates, who are more likely to push for gun reform, but in most cases, the changes were only slightly different from statewide trends. Recent mass shootings have yielded smaller swings than followed Newtown and San Bernardino.

U.S. firearms exports increased by 12 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to a new report from the Center for International Policy. The value of the American firearms shipped overseas totaled $759 million, which was up from $662 million the year before. Saudi Arabia was the largest buyer, spending more than $579 million in deals that included machine guns, semiautomatic sniper rifles, and grenade launchers.

Two children were among six people shot at a baby shower in Chicago. Police say two gunmen opened fire on a crowd of people gathered outside a Chicago home Saturday evening to celebrate the expected birth of a child. An 8-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were struck by bullets, and are both expected to survive. Three men and a woman were also treated for gunshot injuries ranging from stable to critical. Chicago police are still searching for the suspects, who they say fled down an alley on foot.

A 12-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet while watching TV in his Buffalo, New York, home. Badraldeen Mohamad Elwaseem died on Saturday after gunfire erupted in a nearby parking lot. One of the bullets shot through the window of his upper-floor apartment, striking the seventh-grader as he sat in the living room. “Today, I lost my world, my brother, my breath, my purpose, my reason, my motivation, my everything,” Elwaseem’s brother wrote on Facebook. “Words can’t explain how much pain I’m in.”

ONE LAST THING

The families suing a gun manufacturer are taking a page from the battle against Big Tobacco. The New York Times takes a look at the legal strategy pursed by lawyers for the families of Sandy Hook victims and sees the same antecedent others have noted: the landmark legislation against the tobacco industry. Those lawsuits targeted powerful cigarette manufacturers by exposing confidential records that described false advertising and suppressed scientific research in exacerbating a public health crisis. In their lawsuit, the Sandy Hook families allege that Remington glorified the weapon in advertising targeted at troubled young people like the gunman. Their aim is to uncover documents that might help bolster their legal case while also changing public perception in a way similar to the tobacco industry fight.