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Recently in Legislation & Policymaking Category

The top court in Massachusetts ruled this week that the state's ban on stun guns and Tasers is unconstitutional. The Massachusetts Supreme Court concluded that stun guns are "arms" under the Second Amendment, and therefore can't be fully banned under state law, but can be regulated under new state statutes.

Here's a look:

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, Vermont went from having some of the least restrictive gun control laws to some of the strictest. Last week, Governor Phil Scott signed three bills into law raising the age to buy firearms to 21, banning high-capacity magazines, and making it easier to take guns from people who pose a threat or keep them from buying guns in the first place.

The AP calls it "the first significant gun ownership restrictions in state history," and according to CBS, the new law may have already been used to prevent a suspected school shooter from acquiring a gun.

A Facebook crime blogger in Texas writing under the handle 'Gordiloca' (crazy fat lady) had a pair of third-degree felony charges against her dropped this week, based on a little-known legal doctrine.

Priscilla Villarreal had been charged with "misuse of official information" for publishing the names of a suicide victim and a car accident fatality before police had released the information to the public. But a district judge dismissed both counts, deeming the state statute under which Gordiloca (or Priscilla Villareal) was charged unconstitutionally vague. What does that mean?

What to Know About Idaho's New 'Stand Your Ground' Law

With the recent school shootings and subsequent student protests in the news, gun legislation is getting a lot of press these days. While many activists are talking about gun control and ways to get more guns off the streets, some states are passing legislation to increase or clarify citizens' use of guns in self-defense. Idaho is one such state, and both sides of the issue have a lot to say about their new "Stand Your Ground" law.

Gun Storage Laws by State

Whether it's a mass shooting or police shooting a suspect, reports of injuries or deaths because of guns seem to be in the news almost every day. Considering the damage that guns can cause, it's no surprise that there are various gun laws both on the federal and state level. 

These laws address everything from who is allowed to legally own a gun to what kind of guns are allowed to be sold in a particular state. Many states' gun control laws also address issues relating to gun storage, which promote responsible practices for gun owners. These gun storage laws are meant to encourage safe storage for guns to prevent children or people prohibited from owning guns getting their hands on guns.

Is It Illegal to Text About Drug Use?

From posting a video abusing an animal on Facebook to "joking" about gun violence on Instagram, it seems that people think they're untouchable when it comes to their activities on social media.

While some people may be more cautious about what they post online because they realize that those posts aren't exactly private, they may not be as cautious about the texts they send. However, there are times that texting can get you into trouble with the police.

For example, sending someone a threatening text could result in criminal charges being filed against you. But, what about texting about doing something illegal, like using drugs? Well, although texting about drug use isn't necessarily illegal, there are circumstances where it could end up involving you in a criminal investigation.

Is It Illegal to Let a Friend Borrow Your Gun?

Your gun, your rights, your problem? It's pretty common in America to let someone borrow, use, try, or otherwise handle a firearm. Hunters do it in the woods, shooters at the range, purchasers at trade shows, and kids at summer camps.

Put those scenarios to one side, then consider the other side: criminal defendants arguing about who used whose gun to shoot so-and-so, or an otherwise responsible owner having to explain how his gun ended up in a kid's backpack at school.

So what's the law on letting someone borrow your gun?

Elon Musk Sells Flamethrowers: Are They Legal to Own?

Watch out for flamethrower bearing BBQers this summer. Elon Musk, the attention-grabbing entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, has fired up Twitter and legions of his loyal followers with a brand-spanking new toy -- a commercially available flamethrower.

Past Marijuana Convictions in San Francisco to Be Wiped Clean

It's rare for prosecutors to voluntarily dismiss cases. But thousands in one swoop? That gets headlines. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that his office will review and move to expunge thousands of Marijuana-related convictions in the city going back to 1975.

Vermont Legalizes Marijuana: 5 Quick Facts You Should Know

It's official! Vermont became the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana on Monday. The state's Republican governor, Phil Scott, signed House Bill 511 into law after it cleared the state legislature earlier this month. The Green Mountain State joins a growing number of states to remove penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The law takes effect on July 1st.

Yet aspiring cannabis connoisseurs should be wary of jumping into the Vermont "bud" business prematurely. Here are five quick facts to know about the state of the law in Vermont.