Supreme Court won’t take Maryland bump stock ban case

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is declining to take up a challenge to Maryland’s ban on bump stocks and other devices that make guns fire faster.

The high court on Monday, May 3, turned away a challenge to the ban, which took effect in October 2018. A lower court had dismissed the challenge at an early stage and that decision had been upheld by an appeals court. As is typical, the court didn’t comment in declining to take the case.

Maryland’s ban preceded a nationwide ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks that was put in place by the Trump administration and took effect in 2019. The Supreme Court previously declined to stop the Trump administration from enforcing that ban. Both Maryland’s ban and the nationwide one followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers from his hotel room. Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured.

U.S. to launch trade talks on COVID-19 vaccine distribution

WILMINGTON, Del. — The U.S. top trade negotiator will begin talks with the World Trade Organization on ways to overcome intellectual property issues that are keeping critically needed COVID-19 vaccines from being more widely distributed worldwide, two White House officials said Sunday, May 2.

The White House has been under pressure from lawmakers at home and governments abroad to join an effort to waive patent rules for the vaccines so that poorer countries can begin to produce their own generic versions of the shots to vaccinate their populations.

The U.S. has been criticized for focusing first on vaccinating Americans, particularly as its vaccine supply begins to outpace demand and doses approved for use elsewhere in the world but not in the U.S. sit idle.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be starting talks with the trade organization “on how we can get this vaccine more widely distributed, more widely licensed, more widely shared,” said White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

Klain and national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the administration will have more to say on the matter in the coming days.

Sullivan said the administration believes pharmaceutical companies “should be supplying at scale and at cost to the entire world so that there is no barrier to everyone getting vaccinated.”

Klain said the U.S. has sent India enough of the raw materials it needs to make 20 million vaccine doses. India is battling a deadly new surge in coronavirus infections and deaths.

— Associated Press

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