June 8, 2018

It can be a pain to click "forgot your password?" and go through the trouble of resetting your login info — but sometimes, it's really, really important.

After Florida officials had trouble logging into the FBI crime database to determine whether or not to approve concealed weapons permit applications, tens of thousands of applicants were approved to carry firearms without ever receiving a required background check, Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.

Employees in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using the database for more than a year, an investigation found. During that year, Florida received a record number of concealed carry permit applications — 245,000, compared to 134,000 applications the year before.

Investigators are unsure of how many applicants received a permit when they should have been denied, but the conspicuous lack of denials and appeals during that year is reportedly what finally tipped officials off that something was going wrong in the applications process.

Adam Putnam, Florida's Agriculture commissioner who headed the department, has bragged about the increased number of concealed carry permits, reports the Times. While he ran the office, he also boasted about the donations he's received from the NRA for his support of expanded accessibility to guns.

The employee in charge of accessing the database, Lisa Wilde, acknowledged she "dropped the ball," but said she didn't know why she alone was tasked with the background check process when the office was so inundated with applications. Read more at Tampa Bay Times. Summer Meza

February 28, 2018

Walmart announced Wednesday that in light of the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead, it is raising the minimum age for purchase of firearms and ammunition to 21.

In a statement, the company said the change would be implemented "as quickly as possible," and also promised to remove items from the Walmart website that look like assault-style rifles, including toys and nonlethal airsoft guns. In 2015, Walmart stopped selling rifles like the AR-15, which was used in the Florida shooting. "Our heritage as a company has always been in serving sportsmen and hunters, and we will continue to do so in a responsible way," the company said.

Earlier Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods said it will also stop selling guns to customers under 21, and will no longer carry high-capacity magazines. Catherine Garcia

December 6, 2017

The House voted on Wednesday, 231-198, to loosen federal regulations so gun owners with concealed-carry permits could legally travel with their weapons to other states.

The National Rifle Association pushed hard for the bill, which passed with six Democrats supporting it and 14 Republicans opposed. The bill's author, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), compared concealed-carry permits to marriage and drivers' licenses, while Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) — who represents Newtown, where 26 children and teachers were gunned down inside Sandy Hook Elementary School — called his bill "an outrage and an insult to the families" of people killed by gun violence.

The bill was combined with two measures that have bipartisan support — one that would have the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over six months, study crimes involving firearms to see how many involve bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the same rate as an automatic weapon; and another that would strengthen the National Criminal Instant Background Check system. The vote was the first time since the massacre at Sandy Hook that the House took up any major gun legislation. Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2016

Children ages 1-3 have shot somebody with a gun they found more than once a week in the U.S. this year, and in most cases, they were the victim, too. According to a Washington Post count, toddlers were involved in at least 23 shootings between Jan. 1 and April 29. In 18 of those cases, the children shot themselves, and nine of those toddlers died. In the other five cases, the toddler shot another person, and two died — on April 27, a 2-year-old boy fatally shot his mother in the car after a gun slid out from under the front seat, and in February, a 3-year-old boy shot and killed his 9-year-old brother in Alabama.

The rate of toddler-involved shootings is not uniform across states, with Georgia notching eight such shootings since the beginning of 2015, Texas and Missouri tied for second place with seven shootings, while Michigan and Florida each have six. There are probably some legal and cultural reasons for the variations in toddler shootings, but it's "still largely a guessing game," says The Post's Christopher Ingraham. "And it's a game made much more difficult by Congress' efforts to restrict the type of gun research that agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are allowed to conduct." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

January 7, 2016

During a town hall meeting Thursday at George Mason University in Virginia, President Obama spoke about his new executive actions, and said while he has "respect" for people who want a gun for hunting, "it makes sense to keep guns out of the hands of people who would do others harm."

Obama took several questions from the audience, including queries from Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.); Tre Bosley, a Chicago resident whose brother was shot and killed there a decade ago; Taya Kyle, the widow of American Sniper subject Chris Kyle; and Kimberly Corban, a woman who was raped and believes the executive actions will prevent her from being able to own a gun. Obama told Corban her story was "horrific," and said there's "nothing we've proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm." Instead, the action would make it more difficult for her assailant to get a weapon once he is released from prison.

"We're not going to prevent" all acts of gun-related violence, the president said, "but we can prevent some of them." When asked by moderator Anderson Cooper if it was reasonable for him to call people who say he secretly wants to confiscate their guns conspiracists, Obama replied, "Yes, it is fair to call it a conspiracy. What are you saying? Are you suggesting that the notion that we are creating a plot to take everybody's guns away so that we can impose martial law is a conspiracy? Yes, that is a conspiracy! I would hope that you would agree with that. Is that controversial?" He also said he would be "happy" to meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss proposals; the organization was invited to the town hall, but chose not to attend. Catherine Garcia

December 26, 2015

A Chicago police officer fatally shot two people early Saturday after responding to a domestic disturbance call, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The father of Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old engineering student, reportedly called the police because his son seemed agitated and was carrying a metal baseball bat. LeGrier, who was pronounced dead on the scene, was reportedly shot seven times, according to family members.

"My son was going somewhere," LeGrier's mother, Janet Cooksey, told the Tribune. "He wasn't just a thug on the street."

The woman who died was reportedly Bettie Jones, a bystander in the downstairs apartment building who witnesses said opened the door for police. The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the incident. Julie Kliegman

December 13, 2015

Graphic video footage appeared to show Los Angeles County deputies repeatedly shooting a man walking away from them Saturday, apparently continuing even after he fell to the ground and tried to crawl away. He died at the scene.

Authorities identified the man as Nicholas Robertson, 28. The man had allegedly fired shots into the air and pointed a gun at deputies before they opened fire, the Los Angeles Times reports deputies said.

Robertson was "behaving erratically," Steven Katz, with the sheriff's homicide division, said in a news conference Sunday. After deputies said he ignored several calls to drop his weapon, one deputy fired 16 shots and another fired 17, Katz said. A .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun with no live rounds in it was recovered from the scene.

Dozens of protesters took to the intersection where the shooting happened Saturday night.

"In this modern age of cell phone video and instant analysis on the internet, I would ask that we keep in mind that a thorough and comprehensive investigation is detailed and time intensive," Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement. Julie Kliegman

December 4, 2015

Despite the mass shooting Wednesday in San Bernardino, California that left 14 dead and 21 injured, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is going ahead as planned with his National Second Amendment Coalition event Friday at the CrossRoads Shooting Sports shooting range in Johnston, Iowa. "Please join Ted Cruz and special guests as he discusses the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms at this exciting event!" the event Facebook page reads.

Though Cruz's event now comes amid renewed calls for gun control in the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting in San Bernardino, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Politico that the Republican presidential candidate saw that as no reason to cancel the event. "Even in the midst of horrific events like this, we should never rush to take away the basic liberties enshrined in our Constitution that are guaranteed to law-abiding American citizens," she said. Becca Stanek

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