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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: The Links Between Mass Shootings and America’s Suicide Epidemic

Good Morning, Bulletin readers. Gun suicides are much, much more common than mass shootings. But some criminologists see the two problems as sharing deadly links — and the same potential solutions. That story and more in your daily news roundup.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Theory: “Mass shootings are spreading and metastasizing out of the nation’s suicide epidemic.” That’s how a reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer summarized her conversations with several criminologists and psychologists following a deadly gun rampage at a bank in a busy part of the city’s downtown on September 6. “People who are inflicting these tragedies are already suicidal or primarily suicidal,” a psychologist told the paper. A criminologist added that mass shootings were “a final act of revenge” before the assailant takes his own life. Their assessments are backed by FBI data showing that many mass shooters expressed suicidal intent during the year before their attacks or took their own lives during them. What can help, according to the experts the paper spoke with: Red flag laws (a bill in Ohio is backed by the state’s Republican governor, but has not passed) as well as enlisting more gun rights advocates in the fight against gun suicides. America’s suicide rate has risen by 30 percent over the past two decades. About 25,000 Americans now die by gun suicide each year.

A gun-violence-prevention group is pouring millions into state races. Everytown for Gun Safety announced it will spend up to $10 million to elect pro-reform governors and attorneys general in a mix of red and blue states: Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and New Mexico. The push is part of its longterm strategy of securing new gun safety laws at the state level. The group described the outlay as a “curtain raiser” on its political spending in the 2018 election cycle. (Through its nonpolitical arm, Everytown provides grants to The Trace.)

The mayor of Washington, D.C., introduced legislation banning ghost guns. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s bill, which she announced on Monday, would prohibit the possession and manufacture of untraceable, DIY firearms of all types, including 3D-printed guns. The district already bans unregistered guns; the new measure is meant to close any loopholes.

Gun offenders in Los Angeles County will serve their full prison sentences. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced last week that anyone convicted of illegal gun possession, or using a gun during the commission of a crime, won’t get any breaks on sentencing. He added 50 new charges to a list of gun-related crimes, including domestic violence and carjacking.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has confessed to fatally shooting four sex workers in Texas. Police say Juan David Ortiz shot four women in the head between September 3 and September 15. He was arrested after a would-be victim escaped and alerted police. The local prosecutor described him as a serial killer.

A 2-year-old Louisiana boy killed himself with a gun he found on a countertop. The unidentified toddler climbed a stool on Monday afternoon, grabbed a handgun, and fired it, shooting himself in the face, police said. No one has been charged.

An elementary school student in Alabama was unintentionally shot with a gun brought from home. Police say a student in Huntsville was showing the gun to a classmate during gym class on Monday when it discharged, hitting one of them in the hand. “If you’re a parent of a small child and you have a weapon at home, take this opportunity to lock it down,” the police chief implored.

Three Chicago teens were injured in a spray of gunfire while leaving school — hours after an active shooter drill. The students, ages 16, 17, and 18, were wounded when someone opened fire from a car as classes let out at Chatham Academy High School last Monday. “We weren’t doin’ nothin’ to nobody,” one of the injured students said. “I was just like, ‘Why?’”

ONE LAST THING

A Nevada hospital hosted a reunion for more than 100 people affected by the Las Vegas massacre. Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the October 1 rampage, which resulted in 58 deaths and hundreds of injuries, first responders, doctors and nurses, and survivors gathered at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center to tell their stories on Friday. Dominica Zeolla, who was gravely injured by a gunshot to the back, said she formed personal connections with the medical professionals who brought her back to life. Dwayne Taylor, a new surgical technician who was supposed to start work the day after the massacre, rushed to the hospital after the news broke and relied on his Gulf War experience to assist surgeons — all before he knew a single co-worker’s name. “We showed the rest of the world who we are, and what it means to be Vegas strong,” said Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who spoke at the event.