Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Texas Republicans Fund a Safe Gun-Storage Program

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Two shootings reached double-digit casualties over the weekend. Gun rights advocates are not pleased that New York City is changing a law before the Supreme Court can hear arguments against it. And a bullet that traveled through furniture and a wall injured a 13-year-old girl. Those stories and more, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: Washington State is trying a new suicide-prevention method: allowing people to suspend their own gun rights. To waive their legal right to buy a gun, state residents can simply fill out a form and show their ID at a county clerk’s office. The measure, which Elizabeth Van Brocklin previewed in our Saturday newsletter, took effect in January. Right now the only hiccup in implementation is lack of publicity: just three people have used it so far. Read Elizabeth’s full story here.

Gun rights advocates are not happy that New York City is changing a local law that the Supreme Court has agreed to review. The ordinance in question prohibits licensed gun owners from transporting their guns to second homes or shooting ranges outside the city; the new rule would remove those restrictions. The change is currently open to public comments, which reflect frustration that the city is trying to render the Supreme Court challenge moot. One resident said: “This law should not be changed. Not because it is a good law; it is blatantly unconstitutional.” Earlier this month, SCOTUS refused the city’s request to delay the filing of briefs while the change is considered. Whether the court will toss the case once the change is in effect is unclear.

Texas Republicans included a gun safety provision in the state’s annual budget. Late Sunday evening, a team of mostly Republican budget negotiators added $1 million for a safe gun-storage public safety campaign, a measure that advocates have sought since the Santa Fe High School shooting one year ago. Though the national NRA has opposed the safe storage push in the state, the Texas Rifle and Pistol Association has indicated it won’t ask Republican Governor Greg Abbott to use his line-item veto power to nix the allocation. Also on Sunday: Texas lawmakers voted to allow anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it openly for a week following a natural disaster.

Two shootings reached double-digit casualty counts over the long weekend. In southeast Virginia, two groups got into an altercation that escalated to gunfire in the city of Chesapeake on Saturday night. One person was killed and nine people were injured. Hours earlier in Trenton, New Jersey, a drive-by shooting outside a bar wounded five men and five women. A car pulled up and fired about 30 shots, according to officials, who have not yet determined a motive for the shooting. The incident came nearly a year after a shooting at an arts festival in Trenton left nearly two dozen injured and the suspected gunman dead.

A security guard accidentally shot his 13-year-old daughter on Sunday. The unidentified Pennsylvania man was getting ready for work when a round from his gun went through a piece of furniture and a wall and struck his daughter in the bathroom. The injury was not fatal and the man has not been charged, but he may be if police determine he was acting negligently or recklessly.

An Indiana teenager built a ghost gun because he was worried someone would bring a weapon to prom. The court records in the case are sealed because he is a minor, but the boy’s father told the story to The Columbia Tribune after police found the weapon in the teenager’s car. Through transaction receipts, the newspaper confirmed that the boy bought what’s known as an 80 percent lower receiver, which is legal for anyone to buy without a background check, as well as other parts online under his father’s name. He was able to compile the pieces into a fully functioning handgun. From The Trace archives: A recent investigation by our West Coast correspondent revealed that ghost guns make up one-third of guns recovered by feds in California.

ONE LAST THING

Sandy Hook provided a lesson for donations that flood in after shootings: “Err on the side of victims.” In the hours after tragedy hit Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, a fund administered by the United Way began collecting donations, ultimately amassing more than $10 million. A New York Times story from over the weekend details the tensions that emerged in the months that followed over who should receive the donations. The matter was settled by arbitration, but the fault lines remain.

In 2015, we took our own look at the complex legacy of the support that floods communities after mass shootings. Following the Sandy Hook shooting, Newtown, with only 27,000 residents, received over 65,000 teddy bears, boxes of hand-crafted snowflakes, and roughly half a million letters. The packages carried relief, but also created a burden for the town as they piled up. Many of the objects were ultimately donated to needy communities elsewhere; others were incinerated, creating a “sacred soil.”