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News and notes on guns in America

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[AP Photo/Eric Gay]

Daily Bulletin: Armed Protests Follow a Public Health Official Home

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

FBI says Pensacola shooter had close ties to Al-Qaeda. Attorney General William Barr announced that the FBI had found cellphone evidence that the Saudi Air Force cadet who opened fire at a Florida naval base in December had “significant ties to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.” In the month following the attack, Barr declared the mass shooting an act of terrorism, but said the gunman acted alone. According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the new evidence shows that the shooting, which left three American service members dead and eight others wounded, “was actually the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation by a longtime [Al-Qaeda] associate.”

For one health official, home is where the armed protesters are. Amy Acton, the Ohio health commissioner, has attracted a legion of admirers for her aggressive coronavirus response. But she has also become a lightning rod for those dissatisfied with the state’s shutdown. Per The Washington Post, Acton’s front yard in a suburb outside of Columbus has recently become an ideological battleground, pitting neighbors with “Dr. Amy Acton Fan Club” signs in their yards against a stream of protesters — some of them armed. “We don’t see people in our neighborhood wearing full military outfits, armed with handguns. It was shocking, to say the least,” her next-door neighbor, a former city council member, told the Post.

Oklahoma Legislature sends “anti-red flag” law to governor’s desk. The bill, which passed the state Senate over the weekend, pre-empts cities from enacting emergency risk protection order legislation. Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has until May 21 to veto or sign. The bill’s GOP sponsors said their intention was also to nullify any federal legislation that would incentivize cities to implement red flag policies. A Democratic state senator said the law is unnecessary because Oklahoma is already one of 45 states that prohibits cities and states from passing their own gun restrictions. Similar anti-red-flag bills have been introduced in Georgia and Kansas — but neither have advanced in the Legislature.

Are you a first-time gun owner? Tell us your story. The coronavirus has driven millions of Americans to purchase firearms, often for the first time. If that’s you, please fill out this form. Staff writer Ann Givens would love to learn more about your experience, and potentially interview you for a story. And please feel free to pass it on to anyone who might fit the bill.

🎧The Trace on the BBC🎧: Our Brian Freskos is featured on the latest episode of “The Documentary Podcast” from the BBC World Service, which chronicles a weekend of gun violence in Chicago last August that left seven dead and 46 injured. Listen here.

DATA POINT

24 — the number of people who were shot in Philadelphia from Thursday through Monday. Four of them were teenagers. Jim MacMillan/Twitter