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News and notes on guns in America

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Daily Bulletin: Legal Experts Say Retailers Could Face Lawsuits Over Gun Violence

Good morning, Bulletin readers. Dozens of online retailers sell de facto silencers, making it easy for gun owners to avoid federal screening and registration. Our story leads your Monday roundup.

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: Under regulators’ noses, an online market for homemade gun silencers is booming. Silencers, otherwise known as suppressors, are among the most tightly controlled gun accessories in the United States. Under federal law, consumers must apply for a license and pay a fee to purchase them. Gun owners willing to cut corners, though, have a shortcut: tap one of the dozens of online retailers selling de facto suppressor parts and build their own. Champe Barton has the story, published in partnership with The Verge.

Wayne LaPierre has been subpoenaed by New York officials. The state’s Department of Financial Services wants to put the National Rifle Association leader on record about what he knows regarding the marketing of the gun group’s now-defunct Carry Guard self-defense shooting insurance. State York regulators booted the product from the New York market because it determined that the NRA didn’t have the proper licensing to market insurance in the state.

A white man who cited “stand your ground” in the shooting of a black man was convicted of manslaughter. Michael Drejka fatally shot Markeis McGlockton, 28, during an altercation over a handicapped-accessible parking place in Clearwater, Florida, last summer. A jury found him guilty on Friday. The case came to national attention partly because it took 25 days for police to arrest Drejka, a licensed concealed carrier.

NASCAR turns down an ad for assault weapons. K-Var Corp, a Nevada-based online retailer that sells semiautomatic rifles, claims that the car racing association rejected an ad featuring assault-style weapons that the company had submitted to run in NASCAR race programs, citing a “gradual shift” in its position on guns.

Seven people were shot at a house party in New Mexico. Three people were killed in the incident in Hobbs on Sunday, including an 18-year-old who had graduated from high school just days before.

Seven people were shot after a fight broke out at a birthday party for a 2-year-old in Maryland. Police are searching for a suspect in the Saturday night incident in Prince George’s County.

An 8-year-old was killed in a mass shooting near a high school in St. Louis. Jurnee Thompson was fatally shot and three others were wounded when a fight broke out near a high school football jamboree on Friday. She is at least the 15th child to die from gunfire in the St. Louis metro area so far this summer.

An Illinois state trooper was fatally shot. Nick Hopkins, a 10-year veteran of the force, was gunned down while serving a warrant in East St. Louis on Saturday. It is reportedly the first death of an Illinois State Police SWAT team member in two decades. Hopkins leaves behind three young children.

ONE LAST THING

Legal experts say retailers could face lawsuits over gun violence. A 2005 federal law protects most gun makers and sellers from lawsuits arising from the misuse of their products. But one exception is when a sale violates state or federal law. Several lawsuits have been brought in recent years by gun violence victims’ families, who argue that retailers failed to spot someone buying a gun for a prohibited possessor, a transaction known as a straw purchase. Walmart has paid out at least two settlements in this vein. And the supermarket chain Kroger is being sued for allowing guns in its stores after a man was killed in one of its Kentucky locations. “Retailers have been more vulnerable than manufacturers all along,” a law professor told CBS News. “We now have cases testing the limits of these exceptions to the immunity bill.”