Children ages 1-3 have shot somebody with a gun they found more than once a week in the U.S. this year, and in most cases, they were the victim, too. According to a Washington Post count, toddlers were involved in at least 23 shootings between Jan. 1 and April 29. In 18 of those cases, the children shot themselves, and nine of those toddlers died. In the other five cases, the toddler shot another person, and two died — on April 27, a 2-year-old boy fatally shot his mother in the car after a gun slid out from under the front seat, and in February, a 3-year-old boy shot and killed his 9-year-old brother in Alabama.
The rate of toddler-involved shootings is not uniform across states, with Georgia notching eight such shootings since the beginning of 2015, Texas and Missouri tied for second place with seven shootings, while Michigan and Florida each have six. There are probably some legal and cultural reasons for the variations in toddler shootings, but it's "still largely a guessing game," says The Post's Christopher Ingraham. "And it's a game made much more difficult by Congress' efforts to restrict the type of gun research that agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are allowed to conduct." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber
During a town hall meeting Thursday at George Mason University in Virginia, President Obama spoke about his new executive actions, and said while he has "respect" for people who want a gun for hunting, "it makes sense to keep guns out of the hands of people who would do others harm."
Obama took several questions from the audience, including queries from Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.); Tre Bosley, a Chicago resident whose brother was shot and killed there a decade ago; Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper subject Chris Kyle; and Kimberly Corban, a woman who was raped and believes the executive actions will prevent her from being able to own a gun. Obama told Corban her story was "horrific," and said there's "nothing we've proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm." Instead, the action would make it more difficult for her assailant to get a weapon once he is released from prison.
"We're not going to prevent" all acts of gun-related violence, the president said, "but we can prevent some of them." When asked by moderator Anderson Cooper if it was reasonable for him to call people who say he secretly wants to confiscate their guns conspiracists, Obama replied, "Yes, it is fair to call it a conspiracy. What are you saying? Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose martial law is a conspiracy? Yes, that is a conspiracy! I would hope that you would agree with that. Is that controversial?" He also said he would be "happy" to meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss proposals; the organization was invited to the town hall, but chose not to attend. Catherine Garcia
A Chicago police officer fatally shot two people early Saturday after responding to a domestic disturbance call, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The father of Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old engineering student, reportedly called the police because his son seemed agitated and was carrying a metal baseball bat. LeGrier, who was pronounced dead on the scene, was reportedly shot seven times, according to family members.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) December 26, 2015
"My son was going somewhere," LeGrier's mother, Janet Cooksey, told the Tribune. "He wasn't just a thug on the street."
The woman who died was reportedly Bettie Jones, a bystander in the downstairs apartment building who witnesses said opened the door for police. The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident. Julie Kliegman
Graphic video footage appeared to show Los Angeles County deputies repeatedly shooting a man walking away from them Saturday, apparently continuing even after he fell to the ground and tried to crawl away. He died at the scene.
Authorities identified the man as Nicholas Robertson, 28. The man had allegedly fired shots into the air and pointed a gun at deputies before they opened fire, the Los Angeles Times reports deputies said.
— KTLA (@KTLA) December 13, 2015
Robertson was "behaving erratically," Steven Katz, with the sheriff's homicide division, said in a news conference Sunday. After deputies said he ignored several calls to drop his weapon, one deputy fired 16 shots and another fired 17, Katz said. A .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun with no live rounds in it was recovered from the scene.
Dozens of protesters took to the intersection where the shooting happened Saturday night.
"In this modern age of cell phone video and instant analysis on the internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time intensive," Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement. Julie Kliegman
2 days after the San Bernardino shooting, Ted Cruz is holding a gun rights rally at a shooting range
Despite the mass shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead and 21 injured, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is going ahead as planned with his National Second Amendment Coalition event Friday at the CrossRoads Shooting Sports shooting range in Johnston, Iowa. "Please join Ted Cruz and special guests as he discusses the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms at this exciting event!" the event Facebook page reads.
Though Cruz's event now comes amid renewed calls for gun control in the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Politico that the Republican presidential candidate saw that as no reason to cancel the event. "Even in the midst of horrific events like this, we should never rush to take away the basic liberties enshrined in our Constitution that are guaranteed to law-abiding American citizens," she said. Becca Stanek
There were 43 instances this year of someone getting hurt or killed as a result of a toddler accidentally firing a gun, according to an investigation by Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post. In 13 of those cases, the toddler ended up killing himself or herself; in two of those cases, other people were killed. Ingraham cautions that these numbers are probably an undercount, as incidents resulting in minor injuries are less likely to be reported in the media.
The states with the most incidents in which a toddler accidentally fired a gun are Missouri, Florida, and Texas, with five, four, and three incidents respectively so far this year.
Customers will no longer be able to pick up AR-15s or other assault rifles while they shop for detergent or Diet Coke at Walmart, a company spokesman told Quartz on Wednesday. Despite the decision coming in the thick of a renewed national gun debate following a summer of high profile shootings, including one today, the retailer says the decision is due to diminished demand rather than politics. The guns, known as "modern sporting rifles," will be replaced by shotguns or other hunting weapons.
"This happens to get more attention because of what the product is," Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said. "The decision was completely based on what customers are buying and what they want."
Politics surrounding shootings have influenced Walmart policy before, however: The company previously banned the sale of Confederate flag merchandise after the Charleston shooting suspect was linked to racist comments and beliefs. Jeva Lange
On Sunday, the Texas House gave final passage to a Senate bill requiring the state's public universities and community colleges to allow concealed handguns in buildings on campus, sending the controversial legislation to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who says he will sign it. In a compromise, the bill allows private universities to opt out of the new requirements, and each public institution can create gun-free zones, though the scope of those zones is up for debate. Only licensed concealed-carry holders, all 21 and older, will be covered by the law.
Opponents of the "campus carry" legislation — most prominently University of Texas System President William McRaven, a retired admiral, Navy SEAL, and head of U.S. Special Operations forces — weren't placated by the compromise. And neither were some advocates — Students for Concealed Carry declared defeat and said they'll "try again in 2017."
The law, once signed, will take effect on Aug. 1, 2017, on community college campuses and a year earlier at Texas public universities and colleges, including the flagship University of Texas at Austin, where support isn't high for guns on campus. "The university was the scene of the nation's first campus mass shooting on Aug. 1, 1966, when a sniper, Charles Whitman, fired at people from the school's clock tower in a day of violence that left 16 people dead," notes The New York Times. "The campus-carry law will take effect there Aug. 1, 2016, exactly 50 years later."
Seven other states allow concealed carry on public university campuses, 19 ban concealed guns on campus, and 23 leave it up to universities or state boards of regents. Peter Weber