guns

Updated at 5:11 p.m. ET

Virginia's Democratic governor seemed poised to make broad changes to his state's gun control laws, but was dealt a stinging blow by his own party Monday when a state Senate committee blocked a bill that would have, among other things, banned sales of assault weapons.

Four Democrats on Virginia's Senate Judiciary Committee broke ranks with their party handing the Republican minority a victory in tabling the bill for the remainder of the year. It also sent the measure to the state's Crime Commission for further review.

One of the first things visitors see as they walk through the ornate ground floor of Chicago's landmark Cultural Center is a cluster of four glass houses. Each has 700 glass brick openings — a stark, physical reminder of the average number of people killed by guns each week in the country. Designers of the Gun Violence Memorial Project say just as the AIDS Memorial Quilt raised awareness about a deadly disease, they want their focus on victims of gunfire to bring widespread attention to what they consider another epidemic.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Thousands of gun ownership enthusiasts and armed militia members gathered at the Virginia State Capitol on Monday for a rally aimed at quashing new gun restrictions. The rally ended without any violence, but Richmond remains under a state of emergency and Gov. Ralph Northam's temporary ban on weapons on Capitol grounds will remain in place until Tuesday.

With the new year come many new state laws across the country. There are the usual suspects — gun laws, marijuana legalization and housing protections — but there are also some new frontiers: groundbreaking laws concerning Internet user privacy and the classification of contract workers in California, for example.

Here are some of the most notable laws taking effect Jan. 1, in no particular order:

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Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET

A gunman opened fire during a church service Sunday morning in White Settlement, Texas, killing two people before two church members returned fire and killed him, authorities said.

"Preliminary reports indicated that the man entered the church and fired a weapon," White Settlement police Chief J.P. Bevering said at a press conference. "A couple of members of the church returned fire, striking the suspect, who died at the scene."

A man killed earlier this year when he helped stop a shooter at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte is now part of the Star Wars universe.

Over the last generation, gun rights have expanded in America, especially the right to carry firearms, both concealed and in the open. The big exception to this expanding gun culture has been New York City.

Updated at on Dec. 17 at 2:30 p.m. ET

Congressional leaders unveiled two massive spending measures and touted key wins in the $1.3 trillion spending agreement to fund the government for the remainder of the 2020 fiscal year just days before a critical government shutdown deadline.

The House passed the spending bills with bipartisan support on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to approve both bills later this week and send them to the president for his signature.

Zee Martín bought her first firearm — a shotgun — in the late 1970s. After her home near Springfield, Mo., was burglarized. Over the years, she began buying more firearms, eventually collecting handguns and participating in gun competitions. In fact, that's how she met her second husband.

Martín has been a member of the NRA for decades. A little over a year ago, she joined another group — the United States Concealed Carry Association. The West Bend, Wis.-based group offers a similar product as the NRA, but the message is very different.

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