Happy Monday, Bulletin readers. Gun sellers in one Washington State county will be required to warn patrons about the dangers of guns. More than 100 people sought the protection of Maryland’s “red flag” law in October. And Missouri is the latest state to legalize medical marijuana — and grapple with federal laws that ban users from owning weapons.
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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
A plea deal for Maria Butina? NBC News is among the outlets to flag a Friday court filing indicating that attorneys for the alleged Russian infiltrator are now negotiating with federal prosecutors. The judge presiding over the case has issued a gag order to prevent leaks to the press.
Gun sellers in Washington State’s biggest county will soon be required to post a sign in their shops warning against the risks posed by guns. The King County Board of Health — which has jurisdiction over 39 cities, including Seattle — approved the measure last week, describing it as the first of its kind on the West Coast. The sign will read: “WARNING: The presence of a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide, homicide, death during domestic violence disputes, and unintentional deaths to children, household members and others.” Proponents of the regulation say it is akin to warning labels on cigarette packages.
There were 114 requests to put Maryland’s “red flag” law to use during its first month on the books. In a majority of cases, guns were temporarily taken from their owners; in 36 instances, judges extended the confiscation period up to one year, according to data obtained by The Baltimore Sun. Maryland was one of eight states to pass a “red flag” law after the Parkland shooting in February. Under its scope, law enforcement, certain family members, intimate partners, and mental health providers are able to petition judges to temporarily remove guns from those considered to be a threat to themselves or others.
Meanwhile, a small Washington city is considering a “sanctuary” gun law, after its police chief vowed that he wouldn’t enforce new restrictions approved by voters on Election Day. The City Council of Republic, a town of about 1,000, is considering a measure that would shield the community from state and national laws that regulate guns. Republic’s police chief said he has instructed his officers not to carry out the provisions of state Initiative 1639, which creates new requirements for owning assault-style rifles and requires safe gun storage. The move is a part of an emerging trend: Nearly 40 counties in Illinois have passed resolutions that either express opposition to gun regulations, or explicitly state that county employees won’t enforce gun laws they believe to be unconstitutional. And militia groups in eight Oregon counties successfully stumped for local ballot initiatives declaring residents exempt from any future state or local bans on assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines.
Less than a day after a dozen people were gunned down in a Thousand Oaks bar, a fire broke out in the town, and now those close to the victims feel their grief has been forgotten. The Los Angeles Times examined Google trends and found that just 27 hours after the shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill, “Thousand Oaks fire” had usurped the shooting as the most-searched topic related to the suburb. Behind these numbers is real world pain: One man, whose friend was killed at Borderline, has responded to fund-maticallymraisers on Twitter, saying “Please don’t forget about the families of the #BorderLineShooting … These fires are tragic but things can be replaced. The people that lost their lives can not.”
ONE LAST THING
After voters approved legalizing medical marijuana on November 6, Missouri has to marry its loosening weed regulations with its already-loose gun laws. According to federal law, anyone who uses the substance, whether for medical or recreational purposes, cannot legally purchase a gun. That’s been the case since 1968, even though public attitudes on legal marijuana have changed dramatically, according to this 2016 explainer from Trace contributor Patrick Sauer.
Missouri has notoriously loose gun laws, as The Trace has reported upon extensively: It was the first state since the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 to enact a “stand your ground” law, and also allows legal gun owners to carry a weapon without a permit or training. And just last week, the Republican governor said visitors with the proper permitting can bring concealed guns into the state Capitol. At least two Missouri legislators, both Republicans, want to apply the state’s laissez-faire attitude toward guns to its new marijuana laws: “I’ve already announced my intent to pre-emptively protect legitimate medicinal marijuana users’ #2A rights next year,” Representative Nick Schroer tweeted.
The Kansas City Star’s editorial board notes that the state’s contradictory policies now put residents in a bind: “Do they choose protection or pain treatment?”