Week in Review

June 4 – June 8, 2018


Pressure Leads to Progress: State Victories Against Gun Violence

This past week we’ve witnessed legislative victories in states like New Jersey, Delaware and Massachusetts. These wins represent just a small sample of the 44 gun safety bills signed into law following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida.

44 gun safety bills have been signed into law in 23 states since Parkland

Share on Twitter

Legislation such as bump stock bans, methods to prevent domestic abusers from getting guns and extreme risk protection orders are impacting communities in 23 states from the epidemic of gun violence. This movement is bipartisan, too. More than 10 Republican governors in states such as Vermont, New Mexico, South Dakota and Florida all signed stronger gun safety legislation.

Recent polling continues to show that voters from across the political spectrum want to see elected officials act to strengthen our gun laws. Americans know that gun violence and gun safety measures are not partisan issues, and statehouses across the country are beginning to agree.

It’s important to keep up the pressure and build on these successes. Victories on the state level continue to occur, but to see the momentum shift on the federal level, we must elect a Congress willing to tackle this important issue. Electing champions of gun violence prevention is the only way to make this happen, so as the midterms draw closer, it is crucial to get the word out about candidates fighting for the safety of our families, schools and communities.


Top Hits

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stirs confusion, faces criticism over gun remarks | Washington Post | Moriah Ballngit

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is under attack after telling Congress that a safety commission formed following a February shooting at a Florida school would not examine the role firearms play in school violence. About 60 people — including advocates, parents and students — gathered at Education Department headquarters Wednesday to share their views on school violence and their concerns about the direction of the Federal Commission on School Safety. The panel was created by President Trump in response to the Parkland, Fla., shooting, which authorities said was carried out by a gunman wielding a semiautomatic rifle.

Trump’s School Safety Commission Won’t Look at Guns, Betsy DeVos Says | New York Times | Erica L. Green

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the federal commission on school safety set up this year after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre will not focus on the role guns play in school violence. The comments, provided in testimony before the Senate subcommittee that oversees education spending, perplexed senators who questioned how the commission, led by Ms. DeVos and convened by President Trump, could avoid the subject when it was a military-style assault rifle that left 17 students and staff dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

‘Are We Going to Die Today?’ Inside a Parkland Classroom as Bullets Flew | New York Times | Audra D.S. Burch

They remember the gunfire coming in thundering bursts. It sliced the air, like the balls whizzing in a pinball machine. The bullets pinged off the tile floor and the ceiling and the laptops whose screens cracked and blinked and turned a hazy white. In less than a minute, an afternoon ambush transformed Room 1214 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School into a vast crime scene, its students becoming victims, survivors, witnesses. Beforehand, some of them were only casually acquainted in the 90-minute class called History of the Holocaust. Others, like Samantha Grady and Helena Ramsay, were best friends.

With school out, Parkland students plan the next stage in their gun control campaign | Los Angeles Times | Jenny Jarvie

School is out, and on Monday student activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School announced the next phase of their movement – a sweeping summer bus tour across 20 states to register young people to vote and campaign for deep reforms to the nation’s gun laws. “A lot of people have slowly been less excited about voting because people have been getting tired of the political system, but the thing is, we can fix the system,” Cameron Kasky, a Stoneman Douglas student and one of the key leaders of the March for Our Lives movement, said as he announced the tour at the Parkland Ampitheater in Pine Trails Park, about two miles from their high school in Parkland, Fla.

Despite renewed calls, funding for research on gun violence continues to stall | ABC News | Meghan Keneally

The names of the schools, churches, nightclubs and cities have become synonymous with some of the nation’s deadliest mass shootings. Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland; Sutherland Springs and AME Baptist Church; and Pulse and Vegas. In the aftermath of each massacre, a familiar pattern takes hold: thoughts and prayers are offered, the candles at vigils burn out, and politicians promise action, with some making changes at the state level or proposing a new set of safety guidelines to help protect students from other students. What hasn’t followed any of the shootings, however, is federally-backed research into what may be causing the gun violence.

Under the Radar     

NRA, gun control advocates duel over right to wear orange | NBC News | Ethan Sacks

The duel began at dawn on social media. In the early morning hours of Friday, a day when gun control advocates donned orange to honor victims and survivors of gun violence, the National Rifle Association attempted to stake claim to the color. National Gun Violence Awareness Day, now in its fourth year, has become an annual call to action on June 1 meant to draw attention to shooting victims by wearing orange — a color traditionally used to evoke safety. The #WearOrange movement was originally started by friends of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot and killed in Chicago in 2013.

Hoax SWAT call to David Hogg’s house prompts school lockdown | USA Today | John Bacon

The family home of Florida school shooting survivor and gun-law activist David Hogg was “swatted” on Tuesday, leading to swift and heavy police response and a lockdown of at least one local elementary school, authorities said. “It was a hoax call,” Broward County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Gina Carter said. Carter said a 911 call came in at 8:39 a.m. that someone was at the home with a weapon, Carter said. “A SWAT team responded and cleared the home,” she said. “We are investigating who made the call.” She said the lockdown at an area elementary school was quickly lifted.

America’s gun problem, in one disturbing nursery rhyme | Vox | Alexia Fernandez Campbell

By now, most US public school students have learned to barricade their classroom doors, turn off the lights, and hide in a closet if a shooter bursts into their school. These mass shooting drills, also known as lockdown drills, are the sad reality of living in a country where kids are more likely to die in a school shooting than a school fire. That reality became jarringly clear Wednesday when one parent toured her 5-year-old daughter’s future kindergarten in suburban Boston and noticed a disturbing nursery rhyme taped to the chalkboard. It was an eerie twist on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” reminding kids how to hide from a shooter during a lockdown.


NBC News & Wall Street Journal: Where health care, jobs and gun issue voters stand on the midterms

  • Nearly  quarter of voters say guns are a major factor in their midterm vote.
  • 58 percent prefer a Democrat control of Congress to handle the issue of guns.

CDC: U.S. Suicide Rates Have Climbed Dramatically

  • Suicide accounted for nearly 45,000 deaths in 2016 alone.
  • Guns were the most common method used for suicide, accounting for almost half.
  • 54 percent of people who committed suicide did not have a previously known mental health issue.

Psychiatric Online: Effects of Risk-Based Firearm Seizure Laws in Connecticut and Indiana on Suicide Rates, 1981–2015

  • Indiana’s firearm seizure law was associated with a 7.5 percent reduction in firearms suicides.
  • Connecticut saw a 1.6 percent reduction in firearm suicides immediately after its passage.
  • Risk-based firearm seizure laws were associated with reduced population-level firearm suicide rates, and evidence for a replacement effect was mixed.


Delaware: Delaware House approves second ‘red-flag’ gun measure

The state House has approved a “red flag” bill allowing authorities in Delaware to seize guns from a person a family member believes is a danger to himself or others. The measure was approved Thursday and now goes to the Senate. It is similar to one passed earlier this year that allows authorities to seize guns from a person deemed by a mental health provider to be dangerous. The bill permits a family member or police officer to obtain a lethal violence protective order removing a person’s access to guns following a Superior Court hearing.

New Jersey: New Jersey lawmakers OK, send to governor 6 new gun bills

Declaring it New Jersey’s response to a national crisis, lawmakers on Thursday sent a half-dozen measures tightening the state’s already-strict gun control laws to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. The Democratic governor said he would sign the bills, establishing some of the “toughest gun laws in the nation.” The Democratic-led Senate approved the bills that began advancing after a fatal high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead in February. “This is our response to our national crisis,” said Democratic state Sen. Richard Codey, who served as governor from 2004 to 2006. “We need national legislation.”

Massachusetts: ‘Red Flag’ Gun Bill Clears Massachusetts Senate

The Massachusetts House and Senate are now both on record in favor of legislation creating a judicial process designed to temporarily take guns away from dangerous individuals. The state Senate approved its version of the bill Thursday afternoon on a voice vote. It will be up to branch leaders now to come up with a consensus bill that resolves, among other things, state regulation of stun guns.

New York: Cuomo pushes ‘red flag’ bill to remove guns from homes of troubled students

Teachers and school administrators would have the power to petition a judge to remove guns from the homes of troubled students under a measure pushed Tuesday by Gov. Cuomo. Flanked at his Midtown office by teachers-union leaders Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew and other anti-gun advocates, Cuomo said his “red flag” measure would make New York the first state in the nation to offer such empowerment to teachers. “Right now they are basically powerless,” the governor said.