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With Gun Control Measures Unlikely, Congress Turns Focus To Contractors

In the wake of this week’s shooting at the Navy Yard some lawmakers in the region are renewing their push for new gun control measures. But while that effort is unlikely to go anywhere, there seems to be bipartisan agreement the Pentagon needs to review the access it grants contractors.

After last year's Newtown, Conn. school shooting, Capitol Hill witnessed its first real debate on gun control in decades. That effort to implement near universal background checks fell six votes short, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says this week’s shooting in D.C. hasn’t changed the math—so he isn’t bringing it up for another vote.

Still, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine says there will be more mass shootings if lawmakers do nothing.

“There are commonsense things we can do that don’t infringe on anybody’s Second Amendment rights that will make us safer. This place has perfected a million reasons not to do anything. And the lack of action, we’re just going to see more of these and there’s going to be more of them, and eventually then we’ll get tired enough to act. Why not act sooner rather than later?”, he asked.

The alleged Navy Yard shooter worked for a private contractor and gained access using a valid security badge. Between that and the recent leak of a highly classified surveillance program by N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden, Kaine says lawmakers need to reexamine the access granted to contractors.

“We’re really troubled. When you look at a Snowden and then you look at this—obviously very different kinds of things—but instances of folks with security clearances doing horrible things. It does raise a very significant concern," he said.

The Pentagon is preparing to conduct a review of the physical security structures at military bases, though D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is calling for an independent Investigative panel to conduct a review of the shooting.

NPR

From Medical Maggots To Stench Soup, 'Grunt' Explores The Science Of Warfare

When it comes to curiosity, science writer Mary Roach describes herself as someone who is "very out there." Her new book, Grunt, looks at some scientific developments that help keep soldiers safe.
NPR

Venezuela Is Running Out Of Beer Amid Severe Economic Crisis

The country's largest beer producer, Empresas Polar, halted operations because the government restricted access to imported barley. But the president has pinned the entire food crisis on Polar.
NPR

Donald Trump Attacks Federal Judge Involved In Trump University Case

Donald Trump continues to face lawsuits over his for-profit education company, Trump University. Trump accused federal judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias in one case, and said the judge, who is from Indiana, "happens to be, we believe, Mexican." NPR's Ari Shapiro talks to Washington Post political reporter Tom Hamburger about the case.
NPR

In Omaha, A Library With No Books Brings Technology To All

The privately funded, $7 million Do Space provides free access to computers, high-end software, 3-D printers, and laser cutters. It's a learning and play space, as well as an office for entrepreneurs.

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