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October 21-22
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,356 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Buckweed Fire


| Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020
Saugus High School
Investigators search Saugus High School in Los Angeles County on Nov. 14, 2019, after a 16-year-old killed two students and injured three others, with a so-called “ghost gun” before shooting himself. (Courthouse News photo / Nathan Solis)

 

By Maria Dinzeo

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Fed up with the growing number of untraceable homemade firearms used in gun crimes and mass shootings, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a federal lawsuit Tuesday to force the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to crack down on so-called “ghost guns” that skirt laws requiring background checks and age verification.

Lacking a commercial serial number and purchasable without a background check, “ghost guns” are not considered firearms subject to ATF regulation under the Gun Control Act because a central piece remains unfinished — the receiver or frame of the weapon, which houses all of its internal components including the barrel and trigger mechanism.

Becerra disputes this interpretation. His lawsuit notes the Gun Control Act expressly provides that a receiver or frame can be considered a firearm because such pieces are “designed to or may readily be converted” into functional weapons.

“We are suing the ATF over its interpretation what qualifies as a firearm,” Becerra said on a call with reporters Tuesday. “ATF allows these guns to go unchecked despite having the authority under the Gun Control Act to regulate them.”

He was joined by Bryan Muehlberger, whose daughter Gracie Anne Muehlberger was shot and killed at Saugus High school in Santa Clarita, California, by a fellow student with a “ghost gun” assembled from an online kit.

“Until that tragic day, I had never even heard of a ghost gun,” Muehlberger said. “We all need to wake up and understand the danger here. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can buy these totally unregulated kits with just an internet connection and a credit card. And that’s how my daughter’s killer got his murder weapon. I still struggle to understand why it can be so easy to order a kit online that has no intended purpose other than creating a fully functioning firearm and how the ATF can allow ghost guns to be sold with no federal regulation.”

And they’re easy to put together.

“If you can assemble Ikea furniture you can probably assemble a ghost gun. And you can probably do it faster,” said Hannah Shearer, litigation director of the nonprofit legal organization Giffords Law Center.

Shearer, who is co-counsel in the lawsuit, said state gun laws have been undermined by the ATF’s refusal to treat the parts used to build homemade guns as firearms. This allows “unscrupulous” DIY firearm sellers to flood the gun market.

“The ATF has specifically exempted them from the federal definition of a firearm, meaning federal gun laws don’t apply to them. As a result, people can order and build these guns without passing background check or even verifying their age,” she said. “This has opened the biggest loophole you can imagine in our federal and state gun laws.”

Muehlberger, who is not opposed to firearms and owns guns himself, said that only a few months ago he bought a ghost gun kit online using his daughter’s name.

“Sure enough, the company mailed out the kit with Gracie’s name emblazoned on the box. Had the company done any investigation — just Googling her name — they would have learned that not only was Gracie barely 15 and no longer with us, but that she was also killed by a ghost gun,” he said. “It’s that easy for anyone, including children, those with mental illness or past issues with violence, and those that are not legally allowed to own guns, including a dead girl, to circumvent our laws and get a gun.”

The state’s lawsuit says ghost guns are becoming the “weapon of choice” for gun traffickers, gangs, and political extremists like Steven Carrillo, who shot and killed federal officer David Underwood in June outside the federal courthouse in Oakland.

The state of California demands a court order nullifying the ATF’s classification of an unfinished rifle or pistol frame as not a firearm, and a finding that its guidance on 80% receivers and frames is arbitrary and capricious under the Gun Control Act.

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  1. Shooting ranges are also helpful for your mental health. When you practice target shooting regularly, you can have peace of mind knowing you are prepared to protect yourself and your family, reducing your stress as a result.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
Congressional Candidates Talk COVID, Federal Aid, Assembly Bill 5
With only two weeks left before the November election, candidates Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, honed in on their priorities during a virtual forum Tuesday.
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
Wednesday SCV Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals, Groups
Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley and the East San Gabriel Valley Wednesday, October 21, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
COVID-19 Pandemic Blamed for 300K Excess Deaths in U.S.
Nearly 300,000 more Americans have died so far in 2020 than in a typical year, with the excess deaths including the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 plus deaths indirectly tied to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said Tuesday.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
With only two weeks left before the November election, candidates Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, honed in on their priorities during a virtual forum Tuesday.
Congressional Candidates Talk COVID, Federal Aid, Assembly Bill 5
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a special virtual program titled “ACCESSIBILITY/VISIBILITY: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media,” going live October 26 at 5 p.m.
Academy Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act
Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups and individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley and the East San Gabriel Valley Wednesday, October 21, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
Wednesday SCV Air Quality Unhealthy for Sensitive Individuals, Groups
Nearly 300,000 more Americans have died so far in 2020 than in a typical year, with the excess deaths including the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 plus deaths indirectly tied to the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Protection said Tuesday.
COVID-19 Pandemic Blamed for 300K Excess Deaths in U.S.
A group of Black Lives Matter activists who rang Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s doorbell earlier this year were met by her husband holding a loaded handgun.
Black Lives Matter Sues L.A. District Attorney, Husband Over Gun-Pointing Incident
The California attorney general has asked a judge to enforce subpoenas served on the California Republican Party, to order the removal of unofficial ballot drop boxes placed across the state and to turn over the names of voters who used the boxes.
California AG Asks Court to Intervene in Ballot Box Fight With State GOP
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,356 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
Buckweed Fire
The daily COVID-19 report from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was not available as of deadline Tuesday due to technical issues with the County's system.
Henry Mayo Reports Hospital’s 30th COVID-19 Death
A member of the William S. Hart Union High School District community has tested positive for COVID-19, district officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
COVID-19 Hits Hart District Community
The coronavirus has created at least one unexpected benefit for The Master's University men's golf team.
COVID-19 Precautions Lead to Unexpected Benefit for Mustangs Golf
While the announcement did not take place in a star-studded ballroom of a Beverly Hills hotel, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has awarded California State University, Northridge a total $80,000 to support the university’s film students, with $20,000 specifically designated to help students adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
Hollywood Foreign Press Awards CSUN $80K to Help Film Students Impacted By COVID-19
California will not allow Six Flags Magic Mountain and other large theme parks, such as Universal Studios and Disneyland, to reopen until their respective counties enter the least restrictive tier under the state’s metrics, officials announced Tuesday.
Magic Mountain, Large Theme Parks to Remain Closed Under CA’s New Reopening Guidelines
Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang released the 2020 Annual Report, reflecting growth and increases in the assessed value of all taxable real property and business personal property countywide. The report includes an updated ranking of the County’s 88 cities, including the highest valued cities and those with the highest percentage change from the prior year.
County Assessor: Pre-COVID Data Shows Santa Clarita Top Five Highest Valued Cities
A two-vehicle crash took down a traffic light in Santa Clarita late Tuesday morning.
Two-Vehicle Collision Leads to Downed Traffic Light
The William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board will hold its regular meeting virtually Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 21: Hart District’s Governing Board Virtual Regular Meeting
Medical examiners with the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office identified Murdewiyanti Finn, 48, of Lancaster, as the woman killed in a traffic collision on Highway 14 in Newhall Sunday evening.
Coroner Identifies Woman Killed in State Route 14 Fatality
For the second year, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel were given the opportunity to trade out their regular patches for pink ones for October, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
SCV Sheriff’s Station Personnel Take Part in Pink Patch Project
Air quality in the Santa Clarita Valley will be unhealthy for sensitive groups/individuals Tuesday, Oct. 20, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District forecast.
Air Quality Advisory Issued for SCV
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco (75 square miles of SCV) for $33,000, or 69 cents an acre, in a sheriff's sale [story]
souvenir title report
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday confirmed 1 new death and 923 new positive cases of COVID-19, as the Santa Clarita Valley counts 6,782 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 70 deaths from the virus since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Nearly 300K Cases in L.A. County, 6,782 in SCV So Far
The Santa Clarita Valley YMCA will host a UCLA Health blood drive at 26147 McBean Parkway in Valencia on Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m.
Oct. 20: YMCA to Host UCLA Blood Drive in Valencia
Festival of Trees, Santa Clarita’s premier kickoff to the holiday season and annual benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, will continue in person and online this year from November 18-24.
Nov. 18-24: Festival of Trees, Lights Gala to Benefit SCV Boys & Girls Club
SCV school districts have prepared the necessary paperwork to submit in-school waivers, which would allow lower grade levels to return to campus, but the higher grade levels will have to wait for the county to allow it.
SCV School Districts Cannot Fully Open Until County Gives OK
Governor Gavin Newsom Monday named a group of nationally acclaimed California physician-scientists with expertise in immunization and public health to the state’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to Advise State on COVID-19 Vaccines
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