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News Scan


Federal Prisons a Breeding Ground for Terrorists:  As more and more home-grown terrorists are locked up in America's federal prisons, experts are becoming worried that prisons, where terrorists are more likely to spread their beliefs than renounce them, have become breeding grounds for radical Islam.  Fox News reports that the advent of the Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIS, and their aggressive recruitment of Americans has resulted in the imprisonment of 71 people in the U.S. on ISIS-related charges, including 56 arrests in 2015 alone, the most terrorism arrests in a single year since September 2001.  Moreover, there are hundreds more in federal prisoners serving time for terrorist activities related to other terror groups, 100 of which are scheduled for release in the next five years, and there is a possibility that more terror suspects could be transferred to U.S. prisons from Guantanamo Bay.  The FBI says that radicalized inmates are concerning for many reasons, including the possibility they could urge other prisoners to attend radical mosques upon being released from prison, their heightened risk of inciting violence against prison staff and other inmates, and their passage of skills used in terrorism activities to others.  

New Gun Measures Would Have Had no Effect on Mass Shooters:  Following President Obama's announcement Tuesday of executive action to expand background checks at gun shows, flea markets and online sales and add more staff to process them, an Associated Press review shows that the measures would have had "no impact" on several of the most notorious mass shooters in recent years.  Michael R. Sisak of CNS News reports that in some recent U.S. mass shootings, such as those in Sandy Hook and San Bernardino, the shooters used weapons purchased by others.  In Aurora, Co., and the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., while the shooters had mental health issues they were cleared to buy weapons because federal background checks only looked into criminal histories and court-ordered commitments for signes of mental illness.  A former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent says the new regulations won't make it easier to secure convictions against unlicensed gun dealers because the rules remain too vague to help investigators, who already face an uphill battle prosecuting individuals that sell a small number of firearms.

Lethal Heroin Hits MA:  A deadly strain of heroin has struck western Massachusetts, killing eight people in one week amid a regional and national epidemic.  Sarah Jorgensen of CNN reports that the deaths were concentrated in a few small cities in the state, prompting police in the area to warn the public about the lethal strain, dubbed "Hollywood" heroin.  According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, between 2012 and 2014, there was a 63 percent increase in opioid-related deaths in the state, and a total of 1,089 people died of opioid-related overdoses in 2014 alone.  The rest of the nation is not immune from the problem:  the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that, nationally, deaths from drug overdoses reached an all-time high in 2014 and, from 2013 to 2014, deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs and heroin rose 14 percent, maintaining its position as the leading cause of unintentional death for Americans.  This past weekend, police in Springfield, Mass., seized 9,000 bags of heroin with the "Hollywood" stamp on it and arrested four individuals.  An investigation to determine what makes this particular strain so dangerous is still ongoing.

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