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U.S. attorney general Merrick Garland in Washington, D.C. on May 20. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In an effort to curb gun violence, the Justice Department on Monday proposed new restrictions on gun modifications and advised states on how to craft legislation enabling temporary seizure "red flag" laws.

Why it matters: Mass shootings rose sharply during the pandemic — although they were reported less frequently — and the violence has only grown, with 12 mass shootings seen over just one weekend last month.

Details: The DOJ released model legislation to advise states on how to enact laws that allow the temporary seizure of weapons owned by individuals deemed threatening or "in crisis" by family members or police.

  • The agency also proposed enforcing heightened regulation on pistols outfitted with stabilizing braces that allow for easier shoulder firing — which makes the weapon the equivalent of a short-barreled rifle.

What they're saying: “The Justice Department is determined to take concrete steps to reduce the tragic toll of gun violence in our communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Justice Department is suing Texas over new abortion ban

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue at a protest outside the Texas state Capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images 

The Justice Department has sued Texas over its new law banning abortions after six weeks, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an announcement Thursday, calling the law "clearly unconstitutional."

Driving the news: The lawsuit comes after Garland vowed to "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services," adding that "[w]e will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services."

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.