Good morning, Bulletin readers. Today’s edition includes three fresh metrics of the shift toward gun reform that’s taken place since Parkland, including the number of GOP co-sponsors for the tough new federal gun background check bill, the seven figures in a new research fund, and the overwhelming majority of young people who cite school shootings as issue Number One confronting our country. Meanwhile, other news out of Florida shows how hard pro-gun Republicans continue to push in the other direction.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
House Democrats introduced legislation to expand background checks. The bill was formally brought forward yesterday with five Republican co-sponsors. The measure would require background checks on firearms sold at gun shows, over the internet, and most private sales. Its narrow exemptions make the new legislation “significantly stronger and more comprehensive than the background check compromise that advanced after the Sandy Hook shooting,” notes Lois Beckett at The Guardian.
Young people rank school shootings as one of the most urgent issues facing the nation, new polling shows. The findings suggest that campus gun rampages have mobilized a generation: 68 percent of people age 14-29 identified school shootings as the most important issue in the United States. (Axios went with this arresting headline: “School shootings are this generation’s 9/11.”) The CEO of SocialSphere, which conducted the poll, says the shared concern may have helped double midterm voter turnout for the age group in 2018.
A new gun violence research fund is accepting proposals. The National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research, a philanthropic effort to support nonpartisan scientific research on gun policy, will kick off its first grant-making cycle with up to $10 million in funding. The initiative was founded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and is administered by the RAND Corporation.
A bill in California would limit the number of long gun purchases to one per month. The state currently has a one-handgun-per-month limit. A similar proposal was vetoed last year by outgoing Governor Jerry Brown. His successor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, has indicated that he supports stricter gun legislation and would help revive some of the bills that Brown rejected.
Florida lawmakers are making another go at allowing concealed guns on college campuses. For at least five consecutive legislative sessions, state lawmakers have pushed for a similar proposal, but failed each time. The president of Florida State University, a former Republican lawmaker, says he opposes the bill for public safety reasons and vowed to fight it again this year. A Florida Republican is also moving to scrap the state’s post-Parkland gun reforms. The bill would roll back new age limits, re-legalize bump stocks, and eliminate a “red flag” law that has already been used to disarm hundreds of potentially dangerous gun owners.
A Michigan Uber driver pleaded guilty to a 2016 shooting spree. The man, who killed six people and wounded two others over the course of several hours, pleaded guilty to all charges on Monday and will be sentenced to life in prison. His motive remains a mystery.
An Indiana woman fatally shot her grandson and herself. The 68-year-old killed her 16-year-old grandson before killing herself on herself Monday evening, according to police. The deadly shooting happened in the home the two of them shared in the city of Seymour. The victim, a high school sophomore, was described by his principal as “a quiet, well-liked young man who had many friends.” He was reportedly close with his grandmother, who worked in a local deli on weekends to support them.
ONE LAST THING
Should the Las Vegas gunman’s weapons be sold or destroyed? The perpetrator of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history left behind a total of 50 guns, a haul worth about $62,000. Alice Denton, the lawyer liquidating his estate to compensate victims’ families, could sell the guns and give the proceeds to the survivors of the 58 people he killed. But destroying them, she says, “would send more of a symbolic message to the world that weapons like these should not be sold at any price if death or harm to innocent people cannot be prevented.” Grieving loved ones are divided. “If some good can come out of selling them, I am for it,” Mynda Smith, who lost her sister in the 2017 massacre, told The New York Times. But Kyle Taylor, who lost his father, said, “The idea of receiving money from equipment that was used by someone who took so many lives is creepy and unsettling.” For now, the guns are in the possession of the FBI.