Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

Daily Bulletin: ‘So You Are Studying Gun Violence, But Not the Role of Guns’

Hello, readers. The National Rifle Association is using its candidate questionnaire to pressure Florida Republicans to scrap the gun safety measures passed after the massacre in Parkland. Middle schoolers in Pennsylvania received an unsettling graduation gift. And a mass shooting hoaxer is arrested for an illegal arsenal. Those stories and more below.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

The White House school safety panel, convened in response to a school shooting, won’t address guns, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified during a Capitol Hill hearing on Tuesday morning. “That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,” the she said in response to a question from Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Leahy retorted: “So you are studying gun violence, but not considering the role of guns.” In a fact sheet about the commission posted to the White House website, “age restrictions for certain firearms purchases” is listed as a recommended policy proposal.

The governor of New York proposed a bill to allow teachers to file for extreme-risk protection orders. If passed, it could be the first law to authorize educators to petition courts to keep weapons away from students who pose a safety risk. A similar measure is under consideration in California. There are at least three other red flag bills currently pending in the New York state Legislature.

North Carolina Democrats want to ban handguns with safety flaws. Three state lawmakers introduced a bill, modeled after a similar initiative in California, to test the safety of firearms and prohibit those with dangerous design flaws. The bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Context: Here’s our explainer on why firearms are exempted from the same federal consumer safety oversight to which most products are subjected.

The NRA is asking Florida politicians if they will repeal landmark gun reforms passed after Parkland. Questions on the group’s candidate survey, released Tuesday, ask office-seekers to state their positions on measures like the state’s new three-day waiting period on gun purchases and a bump stock ban. The questionnaire is used to determine the group’s “letter grades” for politicians. Here’s Trace staff writer Mike Spies’s deep dive on how the NRA uses those scores to corral incumbents and hopefuls alike.

A mass shooting hoaxer was found with an arsenal of weapons he’s banned from owning. The man, a conspiracy theorist who claims the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting did not happen, was found with 10 guns and nearly 1,000 rounds of ammo, which he’s not allowed to possess because of his criminal record.

The Baltimore County Council approved a bill tightening safe-storage laws. Under current law, adults can be fined up to $1,000 for leaving guns where children under 16 can access them. The measure, approved Monday, increases that age to 18 locally.

Graduating eighth-graders in Pennsylvania were gifted bulletproof inserts for their backpacks. Students at the private school hope they’ll never have the opportunity to put the unexpected presents to use. “I never thought I’d need this,” one of them said.

A teenager was unintentionally shot with his mother’s weapon. Police say two 13-year-olds were “messing around” when the handgun discharged, hitting one of them. The victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Law enforcement officers later learned that multiple guns inside the home were not safely stored. A 2-year-old died in an unintentional shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Police say his brother, 13, was playing with a revolver on Monday when it went off. The older boy and their 34-year-old father are both facing charges. RT: An estimated 4.6 million American children reside in a household where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked.

ONE LAST THING

In 24 hours, 12 people were shot in Chicago, including an 11-year-old boy. The child, who was found dead on the floor of his home, was among at least a dozen people hit by bullets in the city on Monday. The other victims include at least four teenagers.

At least six of the shootings were clustered on the city’s South Side, where several neighborhoods endure “murder inequality” even as Chicago’s citywide gun violence rate fluctuates. Brian Freskos got a reminder of that from a resident when he was in Chicago last week for our “Public Newsroom” with the nonprofit journalism lab City Bureau. “It really is the tale of two cities,” she told him.