Good morning, Bulletin readers. Coronavirus closures now include a landmark gun violence summit, Joe Biden cussed out a gun confiscation conspiracist, and while everyone was consumed with COVID-19 and campaign news, the gun industry completed a potentially lucrative victory. To get caught up, please read on.
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Coronavirus fears prompt postponement of multistate gun violence summit. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy cancelled the Friday conference in Newark, which was expected to draw top officials from seven northeastern states. The regional coalition was formed two years ago in response to federal inaction on gun violence prevention.
Another big Election Day for Joe Biden includes a testy exchange over gun control. During a campaign stop in Detroit, an auto worker accused the Democratic frontrunner of wanting to “take away our guns.” Biden told the man he was “full of shit” and should stop “being a horse’s ass” during the testy exchange. Last night, Biden handily won the Michigan primary on his way to notching several more wins in the Democratic race. What Biden and Bernie Sanders are actually proposing: Find a breakdown of their gun policy positions in our Democratic candidate guide.
NEW from THE TRACE: New Trump arms rules loosen oversight of foreign gun sales. On March 9, authority over the export of small arms, ammunition, and gun parts officially shifted from the State Department to the Commerce Department, a move that reduces restrictions on who can sell weapons internationally and guts monitoring of where guns end up. The American gun industry has lobbied for the change for more than a decade, but critics say its not worth the risk to global security and human rights. Champe Barton has the story.
Dick’s Sporting Goods takes another step out of the gun business. The retailer is eliminating the hunting departments in over half of its 827 stores, continuing a wind down its firearm sales that began after the Parkland shooting. The company previously raised the age for buying guns to 21 and stopped selling assault-style rifles altogether.
Maryland lawmakers end a background check exemption. Maryland currently requires background checks on private sales of handguns and assault-style rifles. The state House and Senate have now both approved a measure that would extend that to all rifle and shotgun buyers. It’s unclear if Republican Governor Larry Hogan will sign it, but he has previously supported some gun safety bills, including one creating a red flag law.
Of the states that go beyond federal law by requiring background checks on private gun sales, only two — Maryland and Pennsylvania — exempt long guns. — Giffords