Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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A demonstrator at a January gun control protest at the Virginia Capitol. [AP Photo/Julio Cortez]

Daily Bulletin: Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions Are Unenforceable, Some Officials Admit

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is the most prominent figure among a new crop of prosecutors seeking to reshape the criminal justice system. In a new feature, we look at the potential of his agenda to decrease gun violence in the long term.

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NEW FROM THE TRACE

Philadelphia’s progressive prosecutor sets his sights on gun violence. Unlike traditional district attorneys, Larry Krasner does not measure success by accumulating convictions and racking up lengthy prison sentences. Instead, since being elected in 2017, he has sought to address abuses by the criminal justice system and imprison fewer people for less time. And he thinks the approach is key to driving down gun crime. “What conservatives have said forever is you can have safety, or you can have freedom,” Krasner said in an interview in his downtown Philadelphia office. But “people’s freedom makes us safer.” Of all the moves Krasner has made as DA, diverting gun possession cases away from prosecution has perhaps generated the most controversy. Criminologists and Philadelphia community activists say that his approach, while unorthodox, is backed by sound social science. They also argue that giving people who carry firearms a second chance may, in fact, reduce gun violence by addressing the factors that lead to gun possession in the first place — namely, pervasive cynicism about the justice system’s ability to keep people safe. Alex Yablon digs deeper with this story, published in collaboration with The New Republic.

Kids living in poverty are 87 percent more likely to die by gun suicide, study finds. Researchers looked at suicides among children 5 to 19 years old in the United States from 2007 to 2016 and compared them to census data showing the percentage of people living below the poverty level in each county. They found that children living in counties with the highest concentrations of poverty were 37 percent more likely to die by suicide than children living in counties with the lowest poverty rates — but they were 87 percent more likely to die by firearm suicide. The study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, is the first to examine the relationship between child suicide and poverty. Ann Givens parses the findings.

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW TODAY

Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions are unenforceable, some Virginia officials admit in emails. After Democrats won unified state control in November, municipalities started passing resolutions opposing the enforcement of any new gun reforms. But as the sanctuary movement gained steam, officials in several localities admitted that the resolutions had no legal validity, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post. A number of other county officials also complained that the resolutions were confusing; one wrote that they had heard from residents who thought the resolutions meant the end of any legal limitations on firearms.

Nevada sheriffs back lawsuit to block the state’s new red flag law. Chief law enforcement officials from three rural counties say they joined a lawsuit filed by  NevadansCAN, a gun rights group. Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Allen, who was the first to join the suit, said that while he wants to overturn the law that went into effect earlier this month, he would “respect the court’s decision.” In a statement, Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat, warned localities that they have an obligation to enforce the law: “If an agency fails to enforce these laws and that results in harm or death, that agency and its agents may be subject to civil liability.”

Notorious Sandy Hook hoaxer arrested after doxxing victim’s father. Deputies in Lake County, Florida, on Monday arrested Wolfgang Halbig for unlawful possession of personal identification after Lenny Pozner, who lost his 6-year-old son, Noah, in the 2012 shooting, accused him of emailing his personal and financial details to law enforcement agencies and news outlets. Pozner has been battling mass shooting hoaxers, including Halbig, for years, an ordeal he first described to us in 2015.

Four people were shot outside a Connecticut courthouse. The victims were sitting in a car in the city of Bridgeport on Monday when someone drove by and opened fire. Police say the incident was related to a fatal shooting the day before. Three suspects were arrested as persons of interest. “This was not something that was random,” Mayor Joseph Ganim said during a news conference on Monday.

Family of five dead in a North Carolina murder-suicide. The Craven County Sheriff said Monday that a 39-year-old man in Vanceboro fatally shot his wife and their three children before killing himself. The shooting is one of at least 39 gun-related murder-suicides since the new year began 28 days ago, according to Gun Violence Archive.

DATA POINT

12 states process all of their own gun background checks, rather than running buyers through the federal system. ATF