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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Campus Shooting Kills 2 on Last Day of Classes at UNC Charlotte

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A campus shooting in Charlotte left two people dead. Wisconsin’s high court ruled that an online gun seller isn’t liable for a shooting committed by a customer. And far-right internet forums are using rhetoric reminiscent of ISIS.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A shooting at the University of North Carolina Charlotte left 2 people dead. Four others were wounded, three of them of them critically, after a man with a pistol opened fire on campus, authorities said. Police disarmed the shooter and took him into custody. He was the only reported suspect. “Unbelievable grief that this came to our campus,” Jeff Baker, the chief of police and public safety at the school, said at a news conference. The shooting happened on the last day of classes for the year.

Anti-Semitic assaults more than doubled in 2018. That’s according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, which recorded 59 victims of anti-Semitic assaults across the country last year, including the 13 people killed or wounded in the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. Overall, the organization tracked nearly 1,900 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, including harassment, assault, and vandalism.

An online gun seller won’t be held liable for a shooting committed by a customer. In 2012, a man prohibited from gun ownership purchased a pistol on Armslist, a classifieds website for guns, without a background check. He used the weapon to fatally shoot three people, including his ex-wife, in a Milwaukee suburb the next day. The Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded on Tuesday that Armslist was not liable for the shooting under a federal law that grants website owners immunity for content posted by users.

Senator Dianne Feinstein will reintroduce a bill raising the age for rifle purchases. In the wake of the Poway synagogue shooting last weekend, which was perpetrated by a 19-year-old, the California Democrat said she would reintroduce federal legislation to increase the minimum buying age for semiautomatic rifles to 21. Feinstein first introduced the bill after the 2018 Parkland shooting, but it failed to pass.

Gun reform is currently a top-three issue for Democratic voters in 2020, a poll finds. Sixty-five percent of potential Democratic voters said it was “very important” for the presidential nominee to take executive action if Congress fails to strengthen federal gun laws, according to a new CNN survey. The findings put gun reform alongside climate change and health care as the top issues for party voters in 2020.

A group of California mayors is asking the governor to fund gun violence prevention. Eight members of the gun reform group Mayors Against Illegal Guns signed on to a Friday letter urging Governor Gavin Newsom to pledge $39 million for the California Violence Intervention and Prevention grant program. The program funds community initiatives in areas with high rates of shootings and received $9 million from the state last year.

Four family members were found dead in their Ohio home Sunday night. Police say they are still searching for a suspect in the shooting at the suburban Cincinnati apartment they shared. The victims were active members of the Sikh community, which gathered to honor the victims at a local temple on Monday night.

Correction: Yesterday’s Bulletin shared a local news item describing seven connected homicides in rural Tennessee over the weekend as the result of a shooting spree. The medical examiner has since determined that the victims died from “multiple blunt force injuries.”

ONE LAST THING

Far-right online forums stoke a rising gun violence risk, experts say. Minutes before the attack on the Poway synagogue this weekend, the FBI received tips about an anonymous social media post threatening violence against Jews. The gunman, like the perpetrators of the shootings in Pittsburgh and Christchurch before him, had been part of a growing digital network of white supremacists active on forums like Gab and 8chan. Participants on these discussion boards have begun calling for similar attacks in a style reminiscent of ISIS and al-Qaeda’s online messaging, counter-terrorism experts tell The Daily Beast. After the Tree of Life shooting, one criminologist told The Trace that this type of toxic rhetoric could “change the nature of hate crimes in America” and motivate more white supremacists to carry out gun rampages. “The messaging empowers people to act on their own,” he said.