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News and notes on guns in America

Daily Bulletin: Why Wasn’t the Congressional Baseball Shooting a Much Bigger Deal?

Hello, readers. Fact-checkers call out Jeff Sessions for another misleading claim about Chicago gun violence. Remarks by Apple’s CEO tacitly add to the corporate endorsement of gun reform. Those stories and more, below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

BuzzFeed details how last summer’s Congressional baseball shooting could have been worse — and how little changed because of it. The report provides a striking tick-tock account of the shooting at a morning practice of the Republican baseball team, walking readers through the factors that limited casualties and hearing from GOP lawmakers frustrated that the FBI did not assign a political motive to the gunman. Key line: “Two dozen members of Congress were nearly killed one morning last year, and the country didn’t change very much at all.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook praised the youth movement for gun reform in a college commencement speech. Reporters have noted the unabashedly political nature of some of Cook’s remarks to graduates of Duke University on Sunday. “It’s in those truly trying moments that the fearless inspire us. Fearless, like the students of Parkland, Florida, who refused to be silent about the epidemic of gun violence and have rallied millions to their cause,” Cook said, in a speech that also embraced #MeToo and immigrant rights activism. A video of the speech is available here.

The National Rifle Association is suing Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and the state’s financial services agency for alleged First Amendment violations. The lawsuit addresses two points of contention: New York’s regulatory actions against self-defense insurance offered by the NRA, and its suggestion to banks to reconsider their relationships with the gun group. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, is one prong of the NRA’s legal counteroffensive over its Carry Guard program. Regular Bulletin readers will recall that the NRA is also suing its insurance administrator Lockton for dropping the NRA amid a probe that resulted in a $7 million fine for the firm.

The Washington Post’s factchecker gave Jeff Sessions three Pinocchios for a claim about Chicago homicide rates. In 2015, as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, the city began requiring police officers to undergo training and record data on stop-and-frisk encounters; in 2016, the murder rate in Chicago jumped 60 percent. Two University of Utah professors concluded, in unpublished research, that the new stop-and-frisk protocols caused the spike in deaths, a conclusion that Attorney General Jeff Sessions echoed in a speech last week. As the Post’s factchecker noted, however, other cities decreased stop-and-frisk without recording subsequent rises in violent crime, including New York, Seattle, and Newark, and experts suggest that Chicago’experience may be an anomaly.

Weekend gun violence in Chicago returned to ongoing rates following a deadly spike. Two people were killed, and at least 16 more were wounded on Saturday and Sunday, which squares with the trend of lower rates of gun violence in the city so far this year. The first week of May, when nine people were killed and 76 were wounded, was the city’s deadliest in 2018. Until then, Chicago had been averaging about 42 shootings a week.

Oklahoma’s Republican governor vetoed a permitless-carry bill. The measure would also have eliminated the training requirement that gun owners must currently fulfill before carrying a gun in public. By rejecting the bill, Mary Fallin bucked a trend that has seen at least 10 states strip away permitting requirements over the past decade.

ONE LAST THING

The man who wrestled a rifle away from the Waffle House gunman met with Parkland survivors over the weekend. James Shaw Jr. sustained burns to his hands while disarming the gunman who fatally shot four people in Tennessee last month. Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and one of the most prominent organizers of the March for Our Lives, had tweeted that Shaw is her hero. After the two connected on Saturday, Shaw showed the feeling was mutual, tweeting that he “met one of my heroes today.” Since the Waffle House shooting on April 22, Shaw has raised nearly $250,000 for the victims.