Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Students Prep the Next Round of School Walkouts for Gun Reform

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Federal officials arrested a Coast Guard officer and self-identified white nationalist after discovering his cache of weapons and plans to commit terrorism. Thousands of students will walk out of class next month to call for new gun legislation. And a bereaved Louisiana family is backing a proposal to create a voluntary “do-not-sell” list for people at risk of gun suicide.

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A Coast Guard lieutenant obsessed with neo-Nazi beliefs was arrested with more than a dozen guns and a hit list of political targets. Christopher Paul Hasson, who was stationed at the service’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., wanted to create “a white homeland,” according to federal prosecutors. He had stockpiled more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and 15 weapons in his Maryland home, along with a spreadsheet listing high-profile politicians like Richard Blumenthal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In court filings, the government called Hasson “a domestic terrorist,” saying he was “bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct.”

Students from the Washington, D.C., area plan to march on the White House to push for gun reform. Thousands of students from schools in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia are planning to walk out of class and march from the White House to the Capitol on March 14, marking the first anniversary of last year’s national school walkout. They are calling on Congress to pass the universal background check bill currently under consideration in the House, and for the president to sign it.

A Florida bill would require domestic abusers to surrender their guns. The new “Gun Safety for Women Act would close several loopholes in federal law by requiring anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, including current and former domestic partners, to turn their guns over to police. “Insufficient and weak gun laws on both the state and federal levels are at the heart of the problem with gun violence against women in our country,” one of the bill’s sponsors said yesterday.

The family of a woman who died by gun suicide is working with lawmakers to create a “do-not-sell” registry. “Donna’s Law” would allow Louisiana residents at risk of harming themselves to voluntarily add their names to a registry prohibiting them from buying a gun. It is named in honor of Donna Nathan, who fatally shot herself after impulsively buying a gun in New Orleans last year. Because her history of suicide attempts did not involve the police or courts, her background check showed no red flags. From The Trace archives: The decision to end one’s own life is often an impulse. When firearms are involved, that impulse is almost always fatal.

Two New Mexico counties passed “Second Amendment sanctuary” resolutions. Under the measures passed in San Juan and Eddy Counties on Tuesday, local sheriffs will not make their deputies enforce statewide gun laws. The two rural counties join four other “gun sanctuaries” in New Mexico as state lawmakers consider a series of gun safety proposals, including expanded background checks and a red flag law. Related: Sheriffs in more than a dozen counties in Washington State are refusing to enforce a voter-approved universal background check initiative. 

A bill to allow guns on college campuses was a bridge too far for legislators in one deep-red state. State senators in South Dakota voted 24-10 on Tuesday against the measure, which would have made it illegal for public colleges and universities to ban loaded guns on their campuses. It was opposed by local educators and law enforcement.

ONE LAST THING

The father of a mass shooting victim is launching a gun safety research foundation. Three months after his daughter, 21-year-old Maura Binkley, was fatally shot at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, Jeff Binkley announced the launch of Maura’s Voice. The foundation will fund gun safety research at Florida State University, with a focus on how hate and mental illness fuel violence.

In the months since the shooting, which resulted in two deaths and five injuries, investigators have found substantial evidence of the gunman’s hatred of women. “A lifetime of misogynistic attitudes caused him to attack a familiar community where he’d been arrested several times for his previous violent action towards women, the local police chief said.