Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Skip Plitt/Wikimedia Commons]

Daily Bulletin: Ahead of Gun Rights Rally, Virginia Democrats Ban Guns in State Capitol

Good morning, Bulletin readers. We’re continuing to monitor the showdown in Virginia, where gun rights activists and militia members are planning to mass in the capital city of Richmond next week to protest a proposed package of firearm safety bills. Late last week, lawmakers voted on the first of those changes, which affects where protestors will be able to carry their firearms.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Virginia Democrats voted to ban guns in the state Capitol. The measure passed Friday was one of the lesser provisions in the slate of new firearm laws the state’s new governing majority has vowed to pass, but can be read as further indication of heightened tensions. Gun rights activists expect a large turnout at a rally planned outside the Capitol next Monday, where they may be joined by armed militia members who share their opposition to gun restrictions. “The overall goal here is to protect and ensure the safety of our members and of the people that are in our building coming and going,” Democratic Delegate Marcus Simon said.

Five people were shot at a house party in Aurora, Colorado. Two of the victims of the Saturday night incident were teenage girls. All are expected to survive. Police are searching for the shooter.

Survey: Only 40 percent of gun owners at gun lock giveaways said they secured their weapons. Researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health arrived at the finding after polling gun owners waiting for free gun locks at sporting goods stores in Washington State between 2015 and 2018. “Safe firearm storage is associated with lower risk of self-inflicted firearm injuries among children and adolescents,” the authors note in their abstract, yet the share of gun owners who do not secure their weapons was the same whether children lived in the home or not. The results were published in the February 2020 issue of Preventive Medicine.

Dallas mayor’s task force recommends reducing blight to quell violence. The Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities issued a report recommending cleaning up crumbling buildings and abandoned lots and adding outdoor lighting, as well as adding more support for school-age children and training more violence interrupters to mediate street conflicts. The task force estimated that for every $10,000 spent on fixing up neglected buildings, nine violent crimes could be prevented. Go deeper: The Dallas report cited a similar program in Chicago, which Brian Freskos profiled in September.

After Rhode Island’s first known homicide with a 3D-printed-gun, state lawmaker reintroduces ghost gun ban. State Senator Cynthia Coyne unveiled a bill regulating homemade firearms that lack serial numbers, including 3D-printed weapons. A similar bill was introduced last year. On New Year’s Day, Cheryl Smith, 54, was fatally shot with a 3D-printed handgun, police say.

An Indiana lawmaker wants to raise the age to buy long guns. State Senator Greg Taylor, a Democrat who says he regularly carries a concealed handgun, introduced a bill that would raise the age to buy a shotgun, rifle, or semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21. Only four states require purchasers of shotguns and rifles to be 21.

Inside the St. Louis school whose young students are growing numb to gun violence. Ashland Elementary is surrounded by more shootings than nearly any other school in the city. In a St. Louis Public Radio segment, some of its fifth- and sixth-graders described their rote response to the crack of gunfire. “It’s sad because they’re completely desensitized,” a staff member said, “yet everything that they want to do revolves around confrontation, fighting and shooting fake guns at each other.”

Alleged bad apple gun dealer indicted in New York. The owner of Chester’s Hunting & Fishing in Long Island is accused of selling assault-style rifles without a state license, which he lost in 2015. He also allegedly bought guns in other states and sold them to prohibited purchasers in New York. Authorities found him in possession of 116 assault weapons, 820 high-capacity magazines, and lower receivers without serial numbers, which can be used to manufacture ghost guns.

DATA POINT

Washington, D.C., police recovered 115 ghost guns in 2019 — a 360 percent increase from the year before. — Washington City Paper