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A public hearing in Maine for a proposed red flag law drew throngs of supporters and opponents last week. The law would allow family members to directly petition a court to remove someone’s guns, whereas the state’s current “yellow flag law” requires that they must first go through the police and a medical professional. [Maine Public Radio]


Twenty-five years ago this month, the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, left 13 people dead and the nation reeling — and launched us into a new era of school shooting drills and anxiety in large crowds. In the decades since the infamous attack, firearms have only become more ubiquitous despite broad support for stricter gun laws, report The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia and Chip Brownlee. 

The proliferation of firearms has changed how we navigate our lives: Today, schools drill kindergarteners in active-shooter scenarios; music venues require concert-goers to stuff belongings in clear plastic bags; and gunshots sometimes underscore the spectacle of high school football games, instead of touchdowns. In their latest piece, “The Armed Era,” Mascia and Brownlee break down the data showing how guns have changed America over the last quarter century. 

Columbine is also the starting point for “Long Shadow: In Guns We Trust,” a new podcast produced by Long Lead and Campside Media in partnership with The Trace, which will examine how the United States became so divided by guns. The first episode — available on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts — dropped today. Listen and follow here.

What to Know Today

In response to a January 4 shooting at Perry High School in Perry, Iowa, which left two dead and six wounded, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a law last week that will provide retention bonuses to staff members and ease graduation requirements. [Des Moines Register]

A case regarding civil rights violations by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is likely to result in a settlement. The investigation was brought more than three years ago by the California Department of Justice, following shootings by sheriffs and other officer misconduct. [Los Angeles Times]

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the state’s open carry policy to include any type of firearm and not just handguns. It would also lower the age at which someone can conceal carry a handgun, from 21 years old to 18 years old. [WBIR]


States Are Embracing Red Flag Laws for Gun Owners. Here’s How They Work. Since Parkland, more than a dozen states have passed bills allowing law enforcement and family members to remove firearms from at-risk people. (February 2020)