Guns

Firearms manufacturer Colt says it is suspending production of its popular AR-15 semi-automatic assault-style rifle for the civilian market, saying it will concentrate instead on fulfilling contracts from the military and law enforcement.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

There is widespread support among Americans — Democrats, Republicans and gun owners alike — for a number of initiatives to curb gun violence they would like to see Congress pass, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Laws that would screen for the types of people who could use a gun are broadly popular, but when it comes to bans on certain types of weapons and ammunition, a divide emerges.

Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

The death toll from a mass shooting carried out by a gunman in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa has risen from five to seven, and 22 others remain injured, officials said on Sunday.

Authorities said a man armed with an "AR-type weapon" was killed by police just moments before heading toward a crowded movie theater, preventing what investigators said could have been an even deadlier rampage.

A closeup on the trigger of a handgun
Althom / iStock

Speaking in New Hampshire earlier this month, at his first rally after deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, President Donald Trump pointed to mental illness as the source of the violence.

This summer's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, accelerated calls for more red flag or extreme-risk laws in those states, as well as helped jump-start bills in Congress. The laws allow courts to order the seizure of firearms from those believed to pose an imminent danger to themselves or others. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed such laws.

But, while the political focus may be on mass shootings, states are using the laws far more often to prevent cases of individual gun violence, including suicide.

Strong majorities of Americans from across the political spectrum support laws that allow family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen to be a risk to themselves or others, according to a new APM Research Lab/Guns & America/Call To Mind survey.

Max Misch, alleged to have harassed former Vermont legislator Kiah Morris, is shown here at a press conference held by Attorney General T.J. Donovan in Bennington in January.
Linda Rathke / Associated Press/File

Last year, then-Rep. Kiah Morris of Bennington announced she would not seek re-election to her Statehouse seat, citing racial harassment by avowed white supremacist Max Misch. Since then, Misch was charged with unlawful possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device or magazine. That charge is now being challenged by Misch, bringing one of Vermont's new gun control laws to the state Supreme Court.

At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness.

"There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd.

After the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, gun control is again at the forefront of the political conversation.

President Trump has expressed openness to a federal red flag law and for "meaningful" background checks.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will discuss measures aimed at addressing gun violence in September. He said he expects background checks, assault weapons and "red flag" laws to be part of the debate.

"What we can't do is fail to pass something," McConnell told WHAS radio in Kentucky, adding, "the urgency of this is not lost on any of us."

A vigil outside NRA headquarters. People hold up orange letter cutouts that spell out GUN REFORM NOW.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Over the course of a week, three mass shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio renewed a sense of despair, fear, sadness and anger for many Americans. The wave of recent tragedies has also revived conversations about enacting federal gun control legislation.

There were three high-profile shootings across the country in one week: The shooting in Gilroy, Calif., on July 28, and then the back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this past weekend.

That's no surprise, say scientists who study mass shootings. Research shows that these incidents usually occur in clusters and tend to be contagious. Intensive media coverage seems to drive the contagion, the researchers say.

The news has been inescapable: 22 people shot and killed in El Paso, Texas on Saturday. Hours later, another mass shooting left nine dead in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens more were wounded. And even more were killed in deadly shootings in Houston and Chicago over the weekend. How do take steps toward healing after such horrific mass shootings?

Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET

President Trump, responding Monday to the deadly weekend shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people, condemned white supremacy and called for the death penalty for mass murderers and domestic terrorists.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the nation is "overcome with shock, horror and sorrow."

Updated 4 p.m. ET

The shooter behind the grisly mass shooting that left 20 people dead and 26 wounded at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning has been identified by officials as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas.

State prosecutors in El Paso announced on Sunday that they will pursue the death penalty against Crusius.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

The shooter behind the grisly mass shooting that left 20 people dead and 26 wounded at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning has been identified by officials as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas.

State prosecutors in El Paso announced on Sunday that they will pursue the death penalty against Crusius.

Police have identified the nine people who were killed after a shooter fired dozens of rounds into a busy street in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning.

The people who died range in age from 22 to 57, and they include four women and five men. Police say the attacker, who was killed at the scene, is 24-year-old Connor Betts. They identified one of the victims as his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts.

Gov. Phil Scott, addressing reporters from a podium at a press conference
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In his first public comments since vetoing legislation that would have instituted a 24-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, Gov. Phil Scott said Wednesday that he remains open to new restrictions on gun ownership in the future.

Looking up at the front of the Vermont Statehouse.
Angela Evancie / VPR File

Republican Gov. Phil Scott has vetoed legislation that would have made Vermont the 10th state in the country to institute a waiting period for gun sales.

Gov. Phil Scott, seen here in 2018 signing several controversial gun bills into law at a table outside the Vermont Statehouse, while others look on.
Emily Alfin Johnson / VPR file

Gov. Phil Scott has five days to decide whether Vermont will become the 10th state in the country to have a waiting period for gun purchases.

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