National briefs: Police ignored gun database

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- With the toughest gun-control regulations in the country, California has a unique, centralized database of gun purchases that law enforcement officers can easily search. It offers precious intelligence about a suspect or other people they may encounter when responding to a call.

But this rare advantage wasn't enough to help authorities head off the May 23 rampage in Santa Barbara that claimed six victims.

Before a half-dozen sheriff's deputies knocked on Elliot Rodger's door last month in response to concerns raised by his mother about his well-being, they failed to check the database and discover he had bought three 9mm semiautomatic handguns. Several law enforcement officials and legal experts on gun policy said this might have given deputies greater insight into Rodger's intentions and his capability for doing harm.

They left his apartment after finding him to be "shy, timid, polite and well-spoken," in the words of Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.

Missouri may make lethal drugs

ST. LOUIS -- The growing suspicions surrounding where states obtain lethal injections have motivated Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to propose something never previously tried -- establishing a lab where the state can make its own execution drugs.

The idea, if widely adopted, could remove shadowy compounding pharmacies from the nation's execution system and offer a reliable supply of the deadly chemicals that have become hard for prisons to obtain. State legislative leaders said Friday that the proposal deserves consideration.

Boston bombing suspect

BOSTON -- A friend of the brothers suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon was accused Friday of obstructing the investigation into the deadly attack by deleting information from his computer and lying to investigators.

The friend, Khairullozhon Matanov, 23, of Quincy, was arrested at his apartment. He later appeared in federal court, but entered no plea and was being held until a detention hearing Wednesday.

Mr. Matanov is not charged with participating in the bombings or knowing about them in advance, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement, but a spokeswoman declined to comment when asked whether additional charges were possible against him.

Medical marijuana bill

WASHINGTON -- For the first time, the House of Representatives voted 219 -189 early Friday to block the federal government from enforcing its marijuana laws in states that have approved use of the drug for medical purposes. "This is a game changer that paves the way for much more policy change to come," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans For Safe Access, a group that has lobbied to end federal penalties for marijuana use.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., attached the language as an amendment to a bill that would fund the U.S. Justice Department.

Clinton on Benghazi

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Rodham Clinton dismisses her critics and defends her handling of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, in her new book, offering fellow Democrats a guide for how to talk about the fraught issue through the 2016 presidential race.

The former secretary of state's "Hard Choices" is a rebuke to Republicans who have seized upon the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.


-- Compiled from news services

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