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DOJ asks Congress for help on background check enforcement. Sources familiar with the requests told Politico that the Justice Department is telling lawmakers it needs to hire more FBI screeners to keep up with the surge in gun sales, and more 0personnel at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to retrieve guns from people who acquire them through a loophole that allows a sale to go through after three business days — even if their background check is incomplete. A group of Democratic senators has asked for data on how many so-called default proceeds have occurred during the coronavirus crisis. The Politico article cites The Trace’s previous reporting on staffing crunches in the federal gun background check system.
Armed militias vow to prevent police from closing down a Michigan barber shop. Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in the small city of Owosso reopened earlier this month in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home order. Members of the Michigan Militia and the Michigan Home Guard have been standing guard outside. “We’re willing to stand in front of that door and block the entrance so the police will have no entry there today,” a Michigan Militia member said. Go deeper: Vox reports on the larger trend of militia members showing up at anti-quarantine protests — sometimes at the behest of organizers.
Police investigate armed demonstrators in North Carolina. The Raleigh Police Department said it is consulting with the district attorney on whether to bring criminal charges against the anti-quarantine protesters who marched around the city last weekend carrying assault-style rifles (and, in one case, what appeared to be a prop rocket launcher). Under state law, people observing or participating in protests are barred from carrying guns, although open carry is legal in other contexts.
Family of Louisville EMT files suit over fatal police encounter. Police executing a search warrant on March 13 reportedly shot Breonna Taylor, 26, eight times in her own bed. The officers were looking for someone who did not live there, the lawsuit alleges. Taylor’s boyfriend, a licensed gun owner, was charged with assault and attempted murder after he fired on the officers; the suit contends that he mistook them for home invaders because they didn’t announce themselves. “If you ran for Ahmaud, you need to stand for Bre,” the family’s attorney told The Washington Post.
New House coronavirus relief bill includes funding to prevent suicide and domestic violence. The $3 trillion, Democrat-crafted HEROES Act would set aside $25 million for a three-digit suicide hotline; require the Defense Department to furnish a report on military suicide during the pandemic; provide funding to research the mental health consequences of the outbreak; and expand victim assistance funds. The House is expected to vote on the bill Friday, although the Republican-led Senate has already called it a nonstarter.
Researchers outline ways for doctors to step up the fight fight against gun violence. Two articles in the new issue of Annals of Family Medicine examine how physicians can more effectively promote gun safety and curb firearm suicides. A team of public health experts from Ohio State argue for improved mental health screening to identify patients at high risk of suicide — including adding questions about gun access in depression questionnaires — and call on medical associations to use their political clout to advocate for state laws with the potential to reduce suicides. Meanwhile, researchers in Texas looked into why a majority of physicians don’t discuss gun safety with patients despite that being a well-publicized priority. Among the barriers they examined were doctors’ fears of liability, perceived lack of time, and feeling ill-prepared to have those important conversations.
There have been 171 aggravated assaults involving a gun in Denver since the city’s stay-at-home order began on March 26, a more than 60 percent increase over the year before. — Guns and America