Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Michael Schumacher/Amarillo Globe-News]

Daily Bulletin: Students Draft a School Safety ‘Bill of Rights’ That Calls For Strict Gun Laws

Good morning, Bulletin readers. A survey finds that school shootings are a top political issue for American youth; as if to validate those results, a group of teens drafted a school safety “Bill of Rights” at a convening in Washington. 

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

A Harvard pollster says young Americans are particularly concerned about school shootings. According to a national survey conducted by John Della Volpe, director of polling at Harvard’s Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, 68 percent of 14- to 29-year-olds said gun violence in schools is the top issue concerning the future of America. Seventy percent of those surveyed said gun laws should be stricter. (The survey was funded by the Joyce Foundation, which is also a funder of The Trace.)

Washington, D.C., students convened a gun reform summit and ratified a school safety “Bill of Rights.” About 100 students, many of whom have been personally affected by gun violence, gathered over the weekend at a high school in the district to formulate a “Students’ Bill of Rights for School Safety,” which calls for:

  • expanding mental health treatment
  • funding after-school programs in impoverished areas
  • de-escalation training for law enforcement
  • red flag laws
  • regulating “military style weapons” through the National Firearms Act, which currently restricts access to machine guns
  • a mandatory 10-day waiting period on gun purchases
  • modeling gun licensing after drivers’ licensing.

(One of the event’s sponsors, Everytown For Gun Safety, provides grant funding to The Trace through its 501c3.)

After six people were shot near the NFL stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, the sheriff is deploying 600 officers for next weekend’s game. Someone in a car opened fire a few blocks from TIAA Bank Field shortly before the start of Sunday’s game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, wounding six people, three of them critically. On Monday, Sheriff Mike Williams said he hopes to head off further incidents by flooding the area with police officers and installing special security lighting on main thoroughfares.

Another six people were shot outside a funeral service for a gunshot victim in Chicago on Monday. Gunfire erupted outside Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church on the city’s South Side on Monday afternoon, wounding six people in their teens and 20s. A nearby resident said she heard “a storm of gunshots, like 40 to 50.” The funeral was for 25-year-old Vantrease Criss, a.k.a. “Dooski Tha Man,” who was killed in a drive-by shooting on the South Side on October 9.

A young Detroit man was killed by gun violence 16 years after it claimed his father. On Friday, Reggie Cook, 19, was found dead of gunshot wounds just a few miles away from where his father, 26-year-old Reginald Cook, was fatally shot in 2002 in a killing that remains unsolved. “I’m like, ‘No, no, not another bullet,’” the young man’s paternal grandmother, Gerilyn Cook-Duffey, said upon learning of the shooting. Related: While crime in Detroit has decreased in recent years, the homicide rate among the city’s black males remains stubbornly high.

Police say a college student in Washington State killed himself after unintentionally shooting his friend. On Thursday, a 21-year-old student at Central Washington University accidentally shot his 22-year-old friend, and upon realizing what he’d done, immediately took his own life, police said. Both men belonged to the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. Since Gun Violence Archive first began compiling gun injury and death data in 2014, at least 11 people have killed themselves after unintentionally fatally shooting someone.

ONE LAST THING

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibited interstate and mail-order gun sales, established a federal licensing system for gun sellers, and raised the minimum age to buy a handgun to 21. The legislation, which was inspired by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., marked the first federal gun control legislation enacted in the United States in three decades. Upon signing it, President Lyndon Johnson said the bill fell short because Congress refused to adopt all of his recommendations, particularly “the national registration of all guns and the licensing of those who carry those guns,” and he wasn’t shy about who deserved the blame. “The voices that blocked these safeguards were not the voices of an aroused nation,” he said. “They were the voices of a powerful lobby, a gun lobby, that has prevailed for the moment in an election year.”