Good morning, Bulletin readers. An eye-opening study on gun ownership in California raises contrasting takeaways about the effects of the state’s strict gun laws on its firearms owners. It also showcases the importance of government-funded research on gun issues: It was conducted by the first state-funded gun violence research lab in the country.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: The vast majority of California’s assault-style weapons are possessed by a small contingent of hardcore owners. Researchers at the Violence Prevention Research Center at the University of California, Davis found that four out of five assault rifles in the country’s most populous state are owned by people who have 10 or more guns. The findings are among the initial takeaways from a broad survey of Californians and their relationship to guns. Another data point: 25 percent of gun-owning respondents said they had purchased a firearm without going through a background check. Read on for more.
After a decade-long decline, gun deaths are on the rise in the United States, according to a CDC report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there were a combined 72,349 gun deaths in 2015 and 2016 — 27,394 homicides and 44,955 suicides — the highest recorded levels since 2006 and 2007. Especially worrying: Gun suicides increased 21 percent between 2006 and 2016.
A police officer responding to a shooting at a Chicago-area bar mistakenly killed a security guard who was holding one of the suspects at gunpoint. An ejected patron opened fire at a bar in Robbins, Illinois, early Sunday, wounding three people. An armed security guard, 26-year-old Jemel Roberson, returned fire and held the suspect at gunpoint. Despite the fact that several witnesses identified Roberson as a security guard, a responding officer fatally shot him. “They basically saw a black man with a gun and killed him,” a witness said.
A Democrat in North Carolina who flipped her state House district got involved in politics after Sandy Hook. Christy Clark, a paralegal, won the 98th District by 333 votes while outspending the Republican incumbent 5-to-1. Clark started volunteering with Moms Demand Action after the 2012 elementary school massacre. “My youngest child was in first grade at the time,” she said. “I could envision that being my child very easily.” (Moms Demand is affiliated with Everytown for Gun Safety, whose nonpolitical arm is one of The Trace’s funders.) Her victory helped break a Republican supermajority in North Carolina’s lower chamber.
New York state lawmakers object to the Jets’ partnership with MGM Resorts because the company sued Las Vegas shooting victims. The New York Jets signed a multiyear partnership last month with hotel giant MGM Resorts that includes sponsorships and app content. Last week, two New York state senators came out against the deal. In July, MGM sued more than 1,900 victims of the Las Vegas shooting in an attempt to avoid liability.
A student-run activist group in Washington, D.C., created an anti-gun-violence PSA. Students from Thurgood Marshall Academy, a charter high school in D.C., filmed a 1.5-minute spot protesting the disproportionate burden gun violence places on their neighborhoods. “We have a right to go to school without fear,” one of them says. On Thursday, the teens met with the chief of police and spoke frankly about the role police mistrust plays in the cycle of violence. Washington has recorded 145 homicides as of November 9, a nearly 50-percent jump from the same time last year.
The 3-year-old son of an Arkansas police officer unintentionally killed himself with a loaded gun he found in his home. Rion Faulkner found a loaded handgun in a back bedroom and shot himself in the head on Thursday afternoon. His mother said she stepped away briefly to use the bathroom when she heard a gunshot. No word on whether his parents will be charged.
ONE LAST THING
Las Vegas massacre survivors formed a group text on Snapchat. Two of its members died in the Thousand Oaks shooting. Three days after last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, California-based survivors gathered at Borderline Bar and Grill, a country music venue in Thousand Oaks, because it felt like home. They started a group text on Snapchat, so they could always be in contact. Last Wednesday, group members Telemachus Orfanos and Justin Meek (who had not attended the country music festival where the Las Vegas shooting occurred but joined the group text as a friend) were among the victims of the gun rampage at Borderline. Over the past year, Brendan Hoolihan, another Vegas survivor, had grown especially close to Orfanos. “It was a ‘we’re in it together’ type of thing,” Hoolihan recalled to The Washington Post.