Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin speak at a 2013 press conference about their background check bill. [CQ Roll Call via AP Images]

Daily Bulletin: Three Senators Push Trump to Restart Gun Talks

Good morning, Bulletin readers. California is still reeling after a rash of mass shootings in four days left 10 people dead and 10 others injured. We have updates on those incidents below. — Jennifer Mascia, engagement writer

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The latest on California’s outbreak of high-profile shootings. 

  • Thousands gathered Monday night at a vigil in Santa Clarita to commemorate the two students killed in Thursday’s school shooting. “We are here to grieve the loss of two teenagers, two friends, two students, two siblings, and two children,” said Vince Perry, the school’s principal. Detectives were still searching for a motive for the 16-year-old shooter who later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • A San Diego man killed his estranged wife and three of his four children on Saturday before killing himself. A day before, the woman was granted a temporary restraining order after his repeated harassment, including an alleged shooting threat two weeks before. It’s not clear if the order was served, but the shooter was likely aware of it, police said. The fourth child victim remained in critical condition.
  • Fresno Police were still looking for an unknown number of assailants who killed four people and injured six others Sunday night. “This was not a random act,” the police chief said at a Monday news conference, but officials have still not identified a motive.

A gunman killed two people in the parking lot of an Oklahoma Walmart. The shooter also died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound outside the store in the town of Duncan, 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, local Police Chief Danny Ford said. No motive had been established, but one of the victims was a store employee, Ford added. Last week, an El Paso Walmart reopened months after an August mass shooting there claimed 22 lives.

Bipartisan background check supporters say they’re ready to dive back in when a political window reopens. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Chris Murphy of Connecticut were key negotiators in fall talks with President Trump about passing new federal gun laws after this summer’s string of mass shootings. They reaffirmed their support for expanding background checks in a Tuesday op-ed in USA Today. “For the time being, negotiations with the White House…have come to a halt,” they acknowledged. “But we think it’s important to note how far this debate moved over the summer and fall, and how close we were to a bipartisan agreement.”

Judges exercise discretion in red flag cases. The New York Times looks into examples of gun seizure requests denied by jurists who are sometimes being asked to balance free expression with public safety. In one case, a Seattle man posed with AK-47s above the caption “one ticket for Joker please”; in another social media post, he tweeted he would “shoot any woman any time for any reason.” Police used a red flag order to temporarily seize his firearms, but the gun owner’s lawyer argued that the posts were intended as jokes, and a judge returned the firearms a few weeks later. Another judge in Washington State told the paper, “We’re going to be on the front page if we make a mistake.”

A county in Wisconsin became the state’s first “Second Amendment sanctuary.” The Florence County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that leaves it up to the local sheriff to decide whether to enforce a red flag law in the event such legislation is passed statewide. Governor Tony Evers has tried to advance extreme risk protection orders only to be blocked by the Republican-dominated Legislature.

A victim of the Las Vegas mass shooting has died in California. Kimberly Gervais, who was paralyzed in the 2017 massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, died Friday at a nursing facility. Local authorities have not added her to the list of fatalities from the October 2017 massacre that left 58 people dead. But one city official told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that discussions were underway about adding a 59th tree to a local memorial garden.

Mother Jones explains how a mass shooting led to the Democratic win in Virginia. “After the Virginia Beach shooting, gun groups went all in on Virginia,” Matt Cohen writes. “Meanwhile, the NRA — currently hobbled by political scandals and depleted finances — barely contributed $350,000 to GOP candidates.” The magazine reports that it wasn’t just Trump’s unpopularity that helped turn red suburbs blue — it was the gun issue itself, with suburban voters increasingly favoring gun reforms.

DATA POINT

There have been 41 mass shootings (four or more people injured or killed) in California so far this year, more than any other state. [Gun Violence Archive]