Good morning, Bulletin readers. A state supreme court ruling could set up a larger legal battle over whether some convicted domestic abusers can own guns, despite their histories of violence. That story and more in your Wednesday briefing.
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Illinois high court rules convicted abuser can own guns. Shawna Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery in 2001, and was denied a Firearm Owners’ Identification card by the Illinois State Police in 2010. Federal law implements a lifetime gun ban for people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. But Johnson sued, and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that since she’d served time, her civil rights — including gun rights — should be restored. Her lawyer told NPR’s local affiliate that Illinois was just the second state to interpret federal law in that manner.
The New Mexico Senate banned guns during a debate over a red flag bill. The chamber took the step in its public gallery and adjacent rooms ahead of testimony from both gun rights and gun control activists on the bill. Lawmakers did not say if any threats precipitated the temporary ban.
Denver mayor points to gun thefts as part of a recent uptick in youth gun violence. “As we see property crimes rise, we see the theft of guns also rising – from cars, from homes,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. He called for securing firearms. Read more: In 2017, Brian Freskos reported how hundreds of thousands of guns stolen from the homes and cars of legal owners helps fuel crime.
A Maryland police officer was charged with murder less than 24 hours after the shooting death of a handcuffed suspect. Prince George’s Police Corporal Michael Owen, Jr. was charged Tuesday after he allegedly shot William Green seven times while Green was restrained in a police cruiser. “I am unable to come to our community this evening and offer you a reasonable explanation for the events that occurred last night,” said the county’s police chief. “I have concluded that what happened last night is a crime.”
Kentucky lawmakers are advancing a bill that would require school resource officers to carry guns. The measure builds on a state law enacted last year that requires at least one officer to be stationed in each school, but does not say whether they should be armed; if passed into law, the legislation would remove that choice from school districts. The state Senate sent the bill to the House earlier this week.
West Virginia’s governor urged conservative Virginia counties to join his state. Jim Justice, a Trump Republican, extended the invitation on Tuesday at a news conference with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., saying, “We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment.” The announcement, which elicited audible laughs from some lawmakers, follows a push by a majority of Virginia counties to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries ahead of expected new gun laws in the state.
Between 2005 and 2015, there were thousands of fatal shootings by law enforcement officers, but just 54 police officers were charged for those deaths, according to one analysis. — The Washington Post