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Threats of violence prompted a city in Oklahoma to rescind its face mask requirement. Less than 24 hours after officials in Stillwater issued an emergency order mandating residents to cover their faces in stores and restaurants, they amended it in response to threats against several employees, at least one of them involving a firearm. The revised directive encourages face coverings in public but makes them optional. “It is… distressing that these people, while exercising their believed rights, put others at risk,” the city manager said.
A security guard was fatally shot after an argument over face coverings, family says. Calvin Munerlyn, 43, was manning the door at a Family Dollar in Flint, Michigan, when he was gunned down on Friday. His wife said the shooting followed an argument with a customer over her refusal to wear a mask. Under the state’s COVID-19 reduction strategy, residents are required to cover their faces in public. Police are investigating. Munerlyn leaves behind six children.
Michigan’s governor denounces armed shutdown protesters. Gretchen Whitmer said on CNN that the demonstrators who entered the state Capitol in Lansing last week with swastikas, nooses, Confederate flags — and numerous assault rifles – “depicted some of the worst racism and awful parts of our history in this country” and “is not representative of who we are in Michigan.” President Trump has signaled his support of shutdown protestors, tweeting on Friday that the participants are “very good people.”
Two weeks after mass shooting, Canada bans assault weapons. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the prohibition on 1,500 models of semiautomatic rifles on Friday, 13 days after a shooting rampage killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. An estimated 100,000 assault-style weapons are in circulation in Canada. Trudeau said residents will be able to own them, but not use them, for two years while the government crafts legislation to buy them back. Numbers, crunched: The Trace explored what an assault weapons buyback would look like in the United States, where civilians own approximately 16 million military-style rifles, according to an industry estimate.
Baltimore begins aerial surveillance to reduce gun violence. “For the next six months, up to three airplanes outfitted with wide-angle cameras will sweep over Baltimore in daytime flights designed to capture movements across about 90 percent of the city,” the AP reports. “Software will stitch together photos taken once each second, creating a continuous visual record to support the street-level cameras, license plate readers, and gunfire sound detectors police already use to try to solve crimes.” The police commissioner says the pilot program will only be used to investigate shootings, robberies, and carjackings. The ACLU has concerns, which the AP paraphrased as follows: Continuous aerial surveillance “is the technological equivalent of a police officer following every resident, wherever they go, whenever they leave their home.”
Gun violence and coronavirus in Chicago have “common roots and common solutions.” In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed, gang experts Roberto Aspholm and John Hagedorn write that “the virus and violence have race and poverty in common,” and that young people ignoring stay-at-home orders are some of the same people responsible for the city’s persistent gun violence. Both behaviors, they argue, are driven by “decades of private sector abandonment and a public sector that has largely abdicated its role in ensuring people’s welfare in favor of policing and incarcerating.” They are calling for leaders in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington, D.C., to “invest in the South and West Sides to give these youth essential resources, hope, and a reason to live.”
- On Sunday, Five teens were shot at a “large gathering” in Chicago. Police said the survivors, who range in age from 15 to 19, were wounded in a drive-by incident in the Lawndale neighborhood. Also this weekend: Four people were wounded when someone fired into the front yard of a home in Columbus, Ohio, and a man was shot and three women were hit by bullet fragments in Philadelphia.
A brief ban on open carry in the Mississippi capital has come to an end. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s emergency order prohibiting visibility carried weapons during the pandemic expired after six days. The directive has sparked a lawsuit from a Republican state lawmaker and condemnation from the state attorney general. Lumumba said that open carry will continue to make it harder for the city’s police to tackle illegal guns. “The residents of Jackson and the Police Department are fighting a battle with their hands tied behind their backs.”
So far this year, at least 123 Americans have been shot, 51 of them fatally, with assault-style weapons, including AR-15s, AK-47s, and their variants. [Gun Violence Archive]