DAYBREAK DAILY: Maryland police overwhelmed by gun background checks

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs near 70.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Liquor licenses on tap in the District; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

GUNS FOR ANYONE: Or something like that, per the Baltimore Sun, “More than 300 people banned from owning guns were able to buy them last year because the state police were overwhelmed with background check requests, police said Wednesday. People with histories of mental illness or convictions for violent misdemeanors, felons and fugitives were able to obtain and keep guns for three months or longer before state police reviewed the sales, according to records released by request to The Baltimore Sun.

“Maryland State Police finally cleared the backlog of background-check requests last week that began more than a year ago and once stood at more than 60,000, leading to months-long delays in investigating thousands of firearm transactions. Police say a team of undercover troopers has recovered nearly all of the 364 firearms sold to people barred from owning them, but four guns have not been retrieved. "To us, the danger has not passed," state police spokesman Greg Shipley said.”

PIGGY BANK: It’s bulging, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., has raised more than $11.2 million for his re-election bid and has $8.8 million cash on hand, according to a statement his campaign released Wednesday. During the quarter that ended March 31, Warner received contributions totaling nearly $2.7 million from more than 11,000 donors, with almost two-thirds of all contributors from Virginia, the statement said.

“. . . Warner’s potential Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, who will seek his party’s nomination at a statewide GOP convention in Roanoke in June, did not release his fundraising figures Wednesday, his spokesman Paul Logan said. Candidates have until April 15 to report all contributions to their campaigns.”

NO DICE: Of D.C. high schools, per the Washington Post, “Days after Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) released proposals to overhaul the District’s school boundaries and student-assignment policies, the two mayoral hopefuls in the November election said they would not support any plan that eliminates neighborhood high schools.

“. . . The Gray administration’s proposals would not only overhaul school boundaries for the first time in 40 years, but they also could fundamentally change how children are placed in schools, possibly using lottery admissions instead of giving students the right to attend their neighborhood schools.”

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING: New details, per the New York Times, “The Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack, according to an inspector general’s report.

“Russian officials had told the F.B.I. in 2011 that the suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer” and that Mr. Tsarnaev “had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.” But after an initial investigation by the F.B.I., the Russians declined several requests for additional information about Mr. Tsarnaev, according to the report, a review of how intelligence and law enforcement agencies could have thwarted the bombing.”

SCHOOL STABBINGS: A cloudy portrait, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “He always seemed to be "the shy kid in the corner," a classmate said.

“Hours after a startling and savage attack Wednesday morning that left 21 students and a security guard wounded, that was the picture that began to emerge of 16-year-old Alex Hribal, a sophomore at Franklin Regional High School. Armed with two 8-inch knives, he is accused of stabbing and slashing his way through a crowded hallway in an assault that was labeled "bizarre" by both a prosecutor and his own lawyer. Interviews with nearly two dozen students Wednesday evening at various vigils organized by churches yielded precious little background about Alex, who was arraigned on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault and weapon possession. Four of his alleged victims remained in critical condition Wednesday night.”

POTUS AND LBJ: A union – more or less, per the Los Angeles Times, “President Obama has tried to model Abraham Lincoln's team of rivals and Teddy Roosevelt's power of the bully pulpit. He's lauded Ronald Reagan's communication skills and linked himself to the Kennedy clan. He's praised his onetime nemesis, George W. Bush, as well as his onetime adversary, Bill Clinton. But Obama has rarely cozied up to the predecessor some argue did more than any other modern president to pave the way for his election as the nation's first black president: Lyndon B. Johnson.

“Five years into his presidency, Obama will head to Austin on Thursday to remedy what some Johnson admirers have described as a "pattern of omission." At a ceremony at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Obama will honor Johnson and the Civil Rights Act, signed 50 years ago this year.”

MEANWHILE: Just the facts, per The Hill, “President Obama on Wednesday vowed to step up efforts to help veterans and soldiers suffering from mental health issues, and pledged the nation would stand with the families of victims killed in last week's Fort Hood shooting. "We must honor these men with a renewed commitment to keep our troops safe — not just in battle, but on the home front," Obama said at a memorial service for the fallen soldiers.

“Three soldiers were killed and another 16 were injured by an Army truck driver who then took his own life during the mass shooting last week on the Texas Army base. The president said the tragedy "tears a wound still raw" from another shooting on the base five years ago, when an Army psychiatrist killed 12 and injured 31 others at the base.”

POLITICO PLAY: “House Republicans on Wednesday accused former IRS official Lois Lerner of breaking agency rules by aggressively urging denial of tax-exempt status to Crossroads GPS, the giant political nonprofit founded by Karl Rove.

“The House Ways and Means Committee released emails showing the former chief of the tax-exempt unit took a special interest in Crossroads GPS in early 2013 — inquiring with IRS officials why they hadn’t been audited. Around the same time an email suggested she might be applying for a job with a pro-President Barack Obama group, Organizing For Action, though it is unclear if she was joking.”

HOOS AND HOKIES: And nice cars, per the Charlottesville Daily Progress, “The University of Virginia and Virginia Tech are now a part of a worldwide network of universities helping Rolls-Royce with engineering research. U.Va. and Virginia Tech were named to the company’s network of University Technology Centers, a group of about 30 institutions from around the world. They, along with Purdue University, are the only American institutions with the designation.

“U.Va. and Virginia Tech have shared research programs with Rolls-Royce for more than a decade, but the new classification gives them the ability to carry out much more technical, specific research that could translate into product development. U.Va. will specialize in advanced material systems and flow modeling. Virginia Tech will focus on the study of systems diagnostics, flow modeling and power electronics.”

UNEXPECTED FACE: At large, per City Paper, “Out of the District's nearly 650,000 residents, Ward 7 D.C. Councilmember Yvette Alexander is one of the people LL would least expect run for an at-large Council seat in November. After all, Alexander just won re-election to her own seat two years ago. Nevertheless, Alexander tells LL that, like colleague Tommy Wells, she's considering switching her party registration to independent and running for the seat.”

NATIONAL HARBOR: Of disgruntled neighbors, per Gazette.Net, “For many area residents, National Harbor is a popular destination for dinner, shopping and live entertainment, but Joyce Thorpe and other nearby Fort Washington community members say the development has been a nuisance to their once-peaceful neighborhood and expect the problem to get worse once another major attraction is installed by this summer.

“Thorpe, a retired lawyer and neighborhood activist who has been fighting the development for years, said residents have dealt with noise from a hotel laundromat, waterfront music festivals, the odor from portable toilets, crowds and the traffic. Now, as National Harbor gears up for spring and summer, Virginia-based developer Peterson Cos. is preparing to open a 176-foot tall Ferris wheel it describes as a “world-class icon” similar to those in Paris and London. But Thorpe and some of her neighbors see it as one more nuisance from the developer they say has been a troublesome neighbor.”

POT PROBLEMS: Enforcement could be tricky, per the Frederick News-Post, “Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said a marijuana decriminalization bill that was passed in the final hours of the Maryland General Assembly session Monday is fraught with difficulties for police and prosecutors.

“The bill, which Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will sign into law, will remove criminal penalties for carrying less than 10 grams of marijuana. Possessing small amounts of the substance would be a civil offense punishable by fines of up to $100. Possessing more than 10 grams would still be considered a criminal offense. Under the bill, someone who has racked up three or more civil violations could be sent to a court-ordered drug treatment program. But the bill, which was hurriedly passed after garnering new support late in the legislative session, doesn’t address critical issues, Smith said.”

BAD AND GOOD: Of numbers, per ARLnow, “Arlington’s retail sales dropped at the end of 2013 while other indicators of a strong economy — like housing prices and unemployment — improved over the same time period. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Arlington reported about $813 million in taxable retail sales in its March economic indicators study today. Over the same period in 2013, Arlington had about $786 million, a drop of 3.3 percent. The change can’t be attributed to the unusually snowy winter, either: nearly all of the snow this winter fell in the first quarter of 2014, after these numbers were recorded.”

FOO FIGHTERS: Stay tuned, per DCist, “The D.C. Funk/Punk spectacular—a celebration of the city's history of funk and punk music—is happening at the 9:30 Club on May 5, and while the lineup is pretty great in its own right—Trouble Funk and The Don't Need It's are playing—it's what the poster subtly hints at that's really exciting: That the surprise guests will be Foo Fighters and Bad Brains.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals beat Miami 10-7; Wizards lose 94-88 against Charlotte.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Advocates for victims of sexual assault maintain that the MPD is lacking when it comes to dealing with violent and brutal crimes. Victim Marisa Ferri said she went to District police for help after her attack, but a detective wasn't even assigned to her case. Finally, after being pressured by advocates, the D.C. Council took action through legislation, and now a bill with new rules will change the way things are handled in the department.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who will be asked about proposed changes in the city's transportation agencies, politics and more.

--Skip Wood