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Today’s Headlines: Biden’s push against ghost guns

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President Biden plans to announce a series of gun-related measures.

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Biden’s Push Against Ghost Guns

President Biden, making his first foray into efforts to control gun violence since taking office, plans to announce today an effort to limit so-called ghost guns and to nominate a figure from a major gun control group as director of the federal agency that regulates firearms.

The administration’s moves, which Biden plans to announce at an event with Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland, are relatively limited in scope, but mark a sharp shift in course from the Trump administration, which consistently deferred to the National Rifle Assn. and other gun rights groups and opposed measures to expand gun regulation.

The most concrete of Biden’s proposals will be new federal rules aimed at ghost guns, made from kits that purchasers can assemble into weapons with relative ease and a few basic tools. The kits are not classified as firearms, which means a person can buy them without a background check and they can be sold without the identification stamps required for guns.

Law enforcement officials in California have estimated that roughly 3 in 10 guns recovered from crimes in the state are ghost weapons.

More Politics

— The president, anticipating intense negotiations with Congress over his infrastructure and jobs plan, said that he was willing to compromise but would not slow his push for one of the most bold and expensive proposals in recent years.

— Biden has an opportunity to issue the first presidential budget proposal since the Clinton administration that doesn’t prohibit abortion funding for people enrolled in government programs such as Medicaid. The question is: Will he move forward with that symbolic act?

— Amid a sex trafficking investigation, Rep. Matt Gaetz is testing the limits of the Trump playbook.

“Big Dan” Rodimer is a Florida law school grad, by way of a New Jersey prep school, who just last November was running for Congress in Nevada as a soft-spoken family man. Now he’s going after a congressional seat in Dallas-Fort Worth — and acquired a new-fangled Southern drawl.

For more news and analysis, sign up for our Essential Politics newsletter, sent to your inbox three days a week.

The Good News on a Variant

As the California coronavirus variant continues to spread across the Golden State and beyond, new research suggests that several vaccines should continue to provide an effective defense against it.

The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offer good reason for Californians to keep rolling up their sleeves as the vaccination campaign picks up steam across the state.

“We’re not expecting this variant to be a problem for the vaccines — so that’s really good news,” said study leader David Montefiori, a virologist at Duke University.

The California variant is actually a pair of closely related fellow travelers known as B.1.427 and B.1.429. Scientists say they most likely emerged in the state in May, then surged to become the dominant strain amid the deadly holiday surge.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The U.S. government won’t issue vaccine passports, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, after Texas sought to limit their development because of privacy concerns.

— The Cal State Los Angeles mass vaccination site will allow any adult to stand in line for a COVID-19 vaccine between today and the end of Sunday, the governor’s Office of Emergency Services said.

— The European Union’s drug regulator said that it had found a “possible link” between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and a rare clotting disorder. The regulator declined to impose any new age restrictions, but the U.K. said it will not give the shot to those younger than 30.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

One UC System, but …

Although the University of California considers itself one system, its 286,000 students do not have access to equal resources and services across its nine undergraduate campuses. Among them, UC Riverside students fall far behind their peers when it comes to receiving essential services — transfer student support, counseling and academic advising — and their campus facilities are in deep disrepair.

The campus educates a larger share of students who are low-income, underrepresented minorities and the first in their families to attend college than all other campuses except for UC Merced, which is funded at higher levels because of its small size.

The disparities are igniting alarm and allegations by Riverside supporters of de facto racism against the campus. UC finances are complex and the politics thorny, touching on the combustible issues of equity and privilege, class and race.

CBS’ Shake-Up

CBS has ousted two powerful TV station executives following allegations of racist and abusive behavior that rocked the storied media giant.

Peter Dunn, who served as president of the TV Stations group since 2009, and David Friend, senior vice president of news for more than a decade, are no longer part of CBS, the company’s chief executive, George Cheeks, announced in an email to staff.

The move comes two months after an investigation by the Los Angeles Times alleged that the pair cultivated an environment that included bullying female managers and blocking efforts to hire and retain Black journalists. The Times’ series shined a harsh light on an often overlooked corner of the company that lacks the prestige of the CBS television network but remains a vital source of local news for millions of Americans.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On April 8, 1960, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Academy celebrated the opening of a new pistol range. Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess was on hand to welcome a graduating class of 38 deputies and 11 police officers and mark the opening.

But the real entertainment was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the range. Instead of using scissors, Pitchess opted to break the ribbon by firing a gun at it. The photo ran in The Times without an accompanying story.

April 8, 1960: Los Angeles County Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess cuts the ribbon with a bullet at the opening of a new pistol range at the Sheriff’s Academy.
(Jack Gaunt / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Tiger Woods was driving at nearly twice the posted speed limit of 45 mph before he hit a sharp curve and crashed on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in February, the Los Angeles County sheriff said.

— A small-time actor was arrested in Los Angeles on a federal charge that he ran a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of $227 million by touting fictitious film licensing deals with HBO, Netflix and other platforms.

— EBay has taken a series of sketches by a man incarcerated at the Manzanar War Relocation Center off the auction block after Japanese American groups objected. But similar items remain on sale.

— Former Rep. Katie Hill lost the first round in her lawsuit alleging revenge porn.

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NATION-WORLD

— A presidential task force working on reuniting migrant families has started to look through some 5,600 files to capture the full scope of separations at the border under the Trump administration, an official told reporters.

— Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck — and was bearing down with most of his weight — the entire 9½ minutes the Black man lay facedown with his hands cuffed behind his back, a use-of-force expert testified at Chauvin’s murder trial.

— Preliminary results from two experiments suggest major problems with the rule book physicists use to describe and understand how the universe works at the subatomic level. It’s a prospect that has the field of particle physics both baffled and thrilled.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The best clues as to what will take Oscar’s best picture later this month come from the past.

L.A. Opera is receiving a $5-million gift to jump-start its recovery after the pandemic.

— Look! Up in the sky! It’s a stratospheric $3.25-million record sale of a rare Superman comic — the first to introduce the superhero to the world.

— Strangely drawn to Asian American stereotypes, the CW’s new series “Kung Fu” stumbles out of the gate, writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

BUSINESS

— The L.A. City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for the state to close SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey storage facility. Here’s why some say it may pose a far greater threat than Aliso Canyon, site of a record-setting gas leak.

Jeff Bezos likes Biden’s infrastructure plan because he knows it’s worth the money, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes.

SPORTS

— For months now, Olympic leaders have scrambled to keep a step ahead of trouble stemming from China’s history of human rights abuses.

The Masters golf tournament gets underway in Augusta, Ga., today. Here’s why it’s continuing with golfing tradition amid Georgia’s political controversies.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

— The casual racism of mispronouncing an Asian person’s name.

Hunter Biden tells a harrowing tale of addiction in his new memoir, writes columnist Robin Abcarian.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Sweden’s pandemic experiment has left opinion in the country divided. (The New Yorker)

— Scandal, lawsuits and public upheaval. An ongoing feud among the top ranks at McDonald’s is getting McMessy. (Fortune)

ONLY IN L.A.

Developer Rick Caruso is known for his lavish outdoor malls, luxe seaside resort near Santa Barbara and stewardship of USC. Now he’s moving into cryptocurrency. First step: Start accepting rent in bitcoin. Caruso announced that tenants can pay via the currency following the announcement of a partnership with Gemini, an exchange founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.

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