Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s briefing: A new partnership between The Trace and NBC Bay Area looks at states’ failure to take advantage of an important crime-solving tool. Plus, the latest data on post-Parkland youth voter registration, and long-fought progress for gun reformers in Pennsylvania.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The post-Parkland uptick in youth voter registration continues. A new TargetSmart analysis of voter registration data in 46 states shows that the share of voters between 18 and 29 years old grew by more than 2 percent following the Parkland shooting, and has continued to grow in the months since. The report also reveals that, nationwide, youth turnout in primary elections has increased by an average of 4 percent, compared to the last midterm cycle, and has more than doubled over the same time period in some key battleground states. Increasing youth voting has become a big goal of March for Our Lives and related youth-led gun violence prevention groups.
The NRA “proudly stands with Brett Kavanaugh.” Unfazed by the sexual assault allegations against the nominee, the National Rifle Association has issued a new ad in support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. “Since the election of Donald Trump, the character assassination of good Americans like Brett Kavanaugh by those with half his intellect and a fraction of his virtue has been unconscionable,” NRA President Oliver North says in the video.
A bill that would disarm domestic abusers more quickly is advancing in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House passed a bill that would require people convicted of domestic abuse to surrender their weapons within 24 hours of their conviction, and turn their firearms over to a gun dealer or lawyer instead of family or friends. Under current law, people convicted of domestic violence are banned from owning firearms but have 60 days to relinquish their weapons. The state House had been the sticking point for the measure; a similar proposal passed unanimously in the state Senate in March.
An Ohio school district is being sued over its decision to let staff access guns. The decision to give teachers and staff access to firearms comes two years after a school shooting in the district resulted in multiple injuries. Parents have spoken out against the proposal since July, citing concerns about liability and training. From The Trace archives: Ohio has led the charge when it comes to training and arming K-12 teachers against mass shooters, but districts’ plans often leave parents in the dark.
New gun restrictions will become law in Maryland next week. In April, Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed a slate of new gun measures in response to the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland. The laws, which include a red flag law and a bump stock ban, will take effect next week. Maryland has been the site of multiple high-profile shootings since Hogan signed the laws, prompting some state lawmakers to push for even stronger gun restrictions.
A Kansas man injured in an unintentional shooting was shot by an adult, not a child. Officials say a 24-year-old man was playing with the 5-year-old boy who was previously reported to have fired the weapon on Monday night. When the man switched weapons with the child, he falsely believed that both guns were toys and fired, hitting a 35-year-old man in the leg.
Meanwhile, in Miami, a man unintentionally shot a 5-year-old while toying with a gun. The man was reportedly fiddling with a handgun in a bedroom on Tuesday when he accidentally fired it. The bullet hit his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter, who was sleeping on a futon in the living room. She was taken to the hospital. The man and his wife were both arrested.
A community activist in Chicago was fatally shot after confronting a hit-and-run driver. Alberto Bocanegra, 39, chased down a man in an SUV after he recorded video of the driver hitting a cyclist early Tuesday. During a verbal altercation between Bocanegra and the driver, another vehicle pulled up and shot Bocanegra two times. Bocanegra was a well-known community activist who was committed to local politics. “He died as a hero,” a family friend said.
ONE LAST THING
A powerful database helps solve gun crimes. But only two states require police to use it. Bulletin readers will be familiar with Ann Givens’s previous reporting on the ballistics system known as NIBIN, which has helped some police departments generate more leads and take more shooters off the streets. Experts say if every police department comprehensively collected bullet casings and uploaded their digital “fingerprints” to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network database, which is administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, investigators could crack more cases, as crime guns frequently travel across boundaries. In her latest partnership with NBC Bay Area, Ann takes a look at how New Jersey and Delaware became the only states to pass laws mandating that departments use NIBIN, why 48 other states have yet to follow suit, and the state police crime labs that fail to better support small local law enforcement departments by running ballistics analysis for them. You can read the story here. Be sure to also watch NBC Bay Area’s eye-opening segment.