5 things you need to know Wednesday

The biggest news to start your day

President Trump plans to meet with lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday to discuss gun legislation in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. On Tuesday, Republican leaders in Congress rejected calls for tighter gun restrictions despite an in-person pitch from Florida high school students leading a newly energized gun control movement. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Republicans would focus on law enforcement failures, not tighter gun control, citing inaction by a deputy stationed outside the school and tips called into federal and local law enforcement officials about the alleged shooter. Ryan said he supported Trump’s call to arm teachers but not at the federal level, while others dismissed another Trump proposal: raising the legal age for purchasing semiautomatic guns, from 18 to 21. 

Meeting with the nation’s governors, President Trump once again criticized the Parkland school’s deputy for inaction, claiming had he been there he would have run inside. Nathan Rousseau Smith has the story.

World-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who died last week at age 99, will lie in honor at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and Thursday. Political leaders and the public will be allowed to pay their respects. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will take part in a bicameral service honoring the preacher and presidential counselor Wednesday. While numerous Americans, mostly elected officials and military officers, have “lain in state” at the Capitol, only three other private citizens have “lain in honor,” according to a House history of the tradition. The most recent one was Rosa Parks, the African-American civil rights hero who died in 2005.

U.S. pedestrian deaths totaled nearly 6,000 in 2017 for the second straight year amid mounting signs that walkers and drivers are dangerously distracted, a new study released Wednesday finds. The new Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report estimates that 5,984 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2017, with about 75% of those fatalities occurring at night.  Experts attribute the deadly trend to several factors, including smartphones and marijuana use. “We’re not making a definitive link here and saying this is an aha moment, but it’s a source of concern,” said Richard Retting, director of safety for Sam Schwartz Consulting, who authored the report for GHSA. 

A new storm is expected to bring additional weather misery this week to areas struggling to recover from a relentless series of weekend storms and tornadoes. The greatest concern in coming days will be in Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.  Severe storms, including the chance for tornadoes, are forecast to fire up on Wednesday from Dallas to Nashville, according to AccuWeather. Roughly 70 rivers were in flood stage earlier this week in the central U.S., the National Weather Service said.

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