Good morning, Bulletin readers. After gun industry lobbying, the federal government has weighed in on whether gun businesses qualify as “essential” during a pandemic. That story leads your Monday roundup.
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The Trump administration has added the gun industry to its “critical infrastructure” list. Under the update, “workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product” including “manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges” join the public safety personnel whom the federal government advises should be exempted from stay-at-home orders and business closures. The move followed lobbying by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and other gun groups. The federal recommendations are nonbinding but meant to guide state and local policymakers. We’re tracking how executive orders affect firearms retailers across the country. Here’s our updated map. More: The National Rifle Association is suing California Governor Gavin Newsom for not declaring gun stores essential businesses, though his administration has allowed local officials to keep them open at their discretion.
The surge in firearm sales includes “ghost gun” kits. Vice News reports that more than a dozen online retailers who sell parts for assembling DIY guns have issued statements apologizing for shipping delays due to “exceptionally heavy demand.” So-called ghost guns can arm people who could not pass a background check and legally own a firearm; because the weapons lack serial numbers, they also stymie law enforcement investigations. Meanwhile, an anarchist who wants 3D-printed guns to proliferate has reposted the digital blueprints. Cody Wilson claims his latest file dump complies with new, relaxed federal rules for gun exports and will withstand legal challenges.
ICYMI: Baltimore activists will try their life-saving ceasefire weekends as a virtual event. Gun violence continues to haunt the city, with a 27-year-old man killed and two teens injured in a shooting on Saturday. So Baltimore Ceasefire 365 is figuring out how to recreate its evidence-backed strategy online. The next ceasefire weekend is scheduled for May 8 – 10. “Murder hasn’t taken a break,” Erricka Bridgeford, who runs Baltimore Ceasefire 365, told The Trace’s J. Brian Charles. “And just like your buildings need to be cleansed from coronavirus, our neighborhoods need to be cleansed from murders.” Read the story.
Social distancing is sinking a safe storage ballot initiative. The proposal in Oregon would hold gun owners liable for not locking up their firearms or failing to report their lost or stolen weapons within 24 hours. It needs more than 110,000 signatures to make the November ballot, but canvassing efforts have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past two legislative sessions, gun reform bills foundered along with other progressive measures when Republican lawmakers walked out rather than allow votes on the proposals.
An ammo maker is donating N95 masks to healthcare providers. Federal Ammunition, a Minnesota-based subsidiary of publicly traded conglomerate Vista Outdoor, “reallocated cases of N95 masks from their equipment inventory in Anoka, Minnesota, for donation to local hospitals,” Guns & Ammo reported.
Three police officers were shot, one fatally, during a domestic violence call in Phoenix. A 31-year veteran of the department was killed in the Sunday night incident, which began as a dispute between roommates. In Florida, a 15-year-old boy playing with a gun unintentionally shot and killed another teen. In Las Vegas, an intoxicated man with a gun killed two people inside his home before fatally shooting himself.
Three of the six people selected for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Citizen Honors this year were involved in school shootings. Five of the 27 finalists were recognized for heroism amid mass shootings. — Charlotte Observer