Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. [Joe Loong/Flickr]

Daily Bulletin: The Wikipedia Edits Traced to NRA HQ

Good morning, Bulletin readers. In today’s edition: another study from Health Affairs special issue on violence, a new dimension to the NRA’s messaging efforts, and an update on a high-profile shooting in Texas. 

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

States that add mental health care providers may see a slight decrease in gun suicides. Researchers from Ohio State University compared suicide data with employment data and found that a 10 percent increase in behavioral health jobs in a state was associated with an estimated 1.2 percent decrease in the rate of gun suicide. The lead author cautioned that a wide-scale hiring of therapists won’t solve the problem of suicide, which accounts for two-thirds of annual American gun deaths: “This research illuminates the need for additional measures to curb gun-related deaths in America.”

Wikipedia edits traced back to NRA HQ reflect effort to spread the gun group’s agenda. Splinter traced 155 anonymous edits to IP addresses at the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2017, 20 paragraphs were inserted into the entry for longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, edits that were ultimately rejected. An edit to the “disability” entry added statistics on how often disabled people are victims of violent crime. And a change was made to an entry on an Australian politician to omit a paragraph about how NRA representatives were caught on video sharing post-shooting talking points with him.

Dick’s Sporting Goods turned $5 million worth of assault-style rifles into scrap metal. When the company decided to stop selling the category of firearms following Parkland, it had to decide what to do with its remaining inventory. I said, You know what? If we really think these things should be off the street, we need to destroy them, CEO Ed Stack told CBS News in an interview promoting his new book.

Community activists add to criticism of Ohio governor’s gun violence reduction proposals. National gun reform groups have faulted Republican Mike DeWine’s STRONG Ohio bill for not more aggressively addressing access to firearms by high-risk people — the package lacks the red flag provision he’d indicated he supported and would make background checks on private sales voluntary. While DeWines proposal would increase penalties for certain gun crimes, it doesnt include funding for programs that research shows can reduce persistent urban gun violence by intervening before shootings happen. “Just like they focus on the mass shootings in Dayton and in Cincinnati, they need to do the same thing here,” Steve Sherman, a community outreach advocate in Cincinnati, told WKRC.

The death of a key witness to a much-publicized police shooting was not connected to the case, authorities say. Dallas police allege that Joshua Brown, 28, was selling marijuana to three suspects when one of them opened fire last Friday. Two days earlier, Brown’s testimony helped convict a white former Dallas police officer who shot and killed her unarmed black neighbor, Botham Jean. The ex-cop was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Virginia implemented the majority of policy changes recommended after the Virginia Tech shooting, with one notable omission. A review launched by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam found that 74 of the 91 safety recommendations issued by a state panel in the wake of the 2007 massacre were either partly or fully adopted, including improved reporting of mental health records to the federal gun background check system and emergency notification procedures on college campuses. Still not adopted: universal background checks. Northam initiated the review after the May mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center.

An Oklahoma lawmaker is suing to halt permitless carry. Democratic state Representative Jason Lowe filed suit on Monday to stop the law — which would eliminate permit and training requirements to carry a concealed gun — from taking effect on November 1. Lowe claims the law violates the state’s Constitution and said it was “rammed through the Legislature.”

Washington police used the state’s red flag law to disarm a “Joker” fan who posed with guns. Police say the man posted an image to Twitter showing him holding a pair of AK-47-type guns along with the caption, “one ticket for joker please.” Other photos show multiple guns and high-capacity magazines. Authorities seized eight firearms, parts used to make “ghost guns,” and the man’s concealed pistol license from his Redmond home.

A Nebraska teen was shot and lost his leg hours after accepting a college basketball scholarship. KeShon Henderson, 17, was robbed at gunpoint while walking to his Omaha home on September 23. To save his life, doctors had to amputate his leg. He remains in a coma. Earlier that day, he had accepted a full-ride athletic scholarship to Judson University in Illinois.

A 6-year-old girl in Ohio was killed when someone opened fire on her home. Lyric Lawson was asleep beside five small children on Saturday when at least 28 rifle rounds pierced her Cleveland home.

DATA POINT

Of the 2,095 guns recovered at crime scenes in Washington, D.C., in 2018 and traced by the ATF, 599 came from Virginia. Only 43 originated from the District itself. [ATF]