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guns

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are "mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent" or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

Gun rights advocates are declaring victory after several firearms-related measures failed to advance in the Washington Legislature. But gun control advocates say they see momentum on their side.

A measure to crack down on prohibited gun buyers has passed the Washington state House. Lawmakers voted 84 to 13 vote Friday to require gun dealers to alert the State Patrol when someone fails a background check to buy a gun.

President Trump signed a measure into law Tuesday that rescinds an Obama-era rule aimed at blocking gun sales to certain mentally ill people.

The GOP-majority Senate passed the bill by a 57-43 margin earlier this month, following a House vote to overturn the rule.

A federal appeals court says doctors in Florida must be allowed to discuss guns with their patients, striking down portions of a Florida law that restricts what physicians can say to patients about firearm ownership.

A display in Olympia honors deaths by suicide in Washington. The red markers are suicides by gun.
Courtesy of Jo Arlow Photography

Bill Radke speaks with Jennifer Stuber, an associate professor at the University of Washington and co-founder of Forefront: Innovations in Suicide Prevention. February 16 is Suicide Prevention Education Day and Stuber has worked with the Washington legislature to try and craft bills to help prevent suicide, especially those committed with guns. She discusses an unlikely alliance with the NRA and how she wants to erase the stigmas around suicide. 

When a convicted felon, domestic abuser or fugitive tries to buy a gun in Oregon and is denied after a background check, a state trooper comes calling. Sometimes it leads to an arrest and prosecution.

But when this happens in Washington, it’s a different story.

Domestic abusers, felons and fugitives are prohibited from owning guns. But what happens if they try to buy a gun? In Oregon, the State Police investigate or alert local police. In Washington state no one follows up.

But that could soon change.

Thursday is the 21st anniversary of a deadly school shooting at Frontier Junior High in Moses Lake, Washington. To mark the anniversary, the sister of one of the victims plans to ask state lawmakers to make it crime to not safely store guns.

The 26-year-old man accused of opening fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this month pleaded not guilty to 22 counts at his arraignment in a federal court on Monday.

Esteban Santiago Ruiz allegedly traveled from Alaska and started firing in the Florida airport's crowded baggage claim area. Investigators say he continued until he ran out of ammunition, then dropped his weapon and was arrested by law enforcement officers.

It happens thousands of times a year in Washington state: someone who isn’t allowed to own a gun tries to buy one but is denied after a background check. But even though it’s a crime to lie on a background check form, police rarely if ever investigate these cases.

Every year in the U.S., more than 30,000 people die from things related to guns.

That puts guns ahead of HIV, Parkinson's disease, malnutrition, hypertension, intestinal infection, peptic ulcer, anemia, viral hepatitis, biliary tract disease, atherosclerosis and fires. Yet, the funding for research on gun violence lags far behind other leading causes of death, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The number of law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty increased sharply in 2016 relative to 2015, according to a preliminary report from The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The overall number of officer fatalities rose by 10 percent, remaining lower than the average for the previous ten years.

Blues singer Courtney Weaver performs in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Kenneth Fiaui had always been jealous of his girlfriend. He was even jealous of her 4-month-old cat.

On the night he shot her, Courtney Weaver was preparing to go out with some friends for the evening. Fiaui didn’t want her to go.

Fourteen-year-old Demarco Webster Jr. was helping his dad move to a new apartment a few months ago, when he was shot and killed.

His stepdad, Juawaun Hester, says they had intentionally waited to start the move until after midnight in order to avoid any trouble.

Hester says Demarco didn't even like going outside if he didn't have to.

"I don't understand man, and you know what's going on now is like the future children, the good children, the smart children, with scholarships and they're the ones who's dying to the gun violence," Hester says.

As the Seattle Seahawks played the L.A. Rams Thursday night, a Washington state lawmaker defended his proposal to allow concealed pistols at stadium events.

Typically a survivor of domestic violence would never know if their abuser tried to buy a gun and was denied after a background check. But now a state lawmaker and a domestic violence survivor want to change that.

What happens when someone who’s not supposed to have a gun lies about their background and tries to buy one? In Washington state, the answer is not much.

FBI records show that between January and August of this year, 3,259 would-be gun buyers in Washington failed a federal background check. But police and prosecutors rarely, if ever, pursue these people.

A new white paper by the Washington state attorney general’s office finds the state’s system of conducting background checks for gun purchases to be fragmented, complex and inconsistent.

Gun rights and gun control advocates are reacting to the first prosecution under Washington’s Initiative 594, the 2014 law that requires a background check for person-to-person gun sales.

The case involves a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident named Mark Mercado who allegedly gave or sold a .22-caliber pistol to an acquaintance last November. Prosecutors said that gun was then used a day later in the murder of 17-year-old John Skyler Johnson, known as “Jay.”

In what’s believed to be the first prosecution under a 2014 voter-approved background check law, a former Oak Harbor, Washington, resident has been charged with illegally transferring a .22-caliber pistol that was later used in a homicide.

A Connecticut judge has dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against the manufacturer and seller of the weapon used in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

James Balcerak was 23. He had autism and seemed to have lost hope of achieving the life he wanted.

In an argument, he made it clear he was thinking of suicide.

A Winchester Safes representative sets the lock on one of several gun safes on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Joseph Simonetti about the public health implications of safe firearm storage. His research finds that adolescents with risk factors for suicide are often easily able to access guns in their homes. Simonetti is Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

David Combs' anti-1491 effort doesn't have an office, he does media interviews in the lobby of his condo in Redmond.
KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Of the initiatives on the November ballot in Washington, a proposed gun regulation has raised the most money. And no one has registered to oppose the measure, but that might be about to change.

A ban on military-style weapons could come to Washington. Wednesday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced he'll propose a ban during the upcoming legislative session.


When a young African-American man dies in the city of Philadelphia, more than half the time there's one main reason why, says Scott Charles.

"It's because somebody pointed a gun at him and pulled that trigger. It's not because of cancer; it's not because of car accidents; it's not because of house fires. It's because somebody pointed a trigger," he says.

AR-15 rifle with a Stag lower receiver California legal (only with fixed 10-round magazine)
Wikimedia Commons

The day after the Orlando nightclub shooting, Tami Michaels, a Seattle talk show host, took to Facebook.

The University of Texas dedicated a memorial to victims of a sniper-style attack there 50 years ago on the same day concealed-carry of handguns became legal at Texas public universities.

In an early afternoon ceremony, Gregory Fenves, the university's president, dedicated a granite monument containing the names of 17 people killed by Charles Whitman, a 25-year-old student and former Marine, who opened fire from the school's clocktower on Aug. 1, 1966. He killed people both on campus and elsewhere that day.

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