Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives | St. Louis Public Radio

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms Explosives

Laura Smith | Flickr

With the new year come many new developments related to who can light up and what they can smoke. Recreational marijuana is now sold in cities across Illinois. Missouri dispensaries are getting ready to sell medical marijuana. More teens are vaping than ever.

And in December, the Trump administration raised the sales age for tobacco products across the U.S. To buy cigarettes in Missouri, you now have to be 21 years old. Previously, the state allowed sales to 18-year-olds. Illinois raised its age to 21 just five months before.

Updated 9 a.m., Oct. 22 -  Overnight, officials confirmed a seventh church fire at the rectory for the Shrine of St. Joseph in the Columbus Square neighborhood, just west of downtown. The St. Louis Fire Department was able to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. The double wooden doors to the rectory suffered some damage. No one was injured.

The fire at New Life Missionary Baptist also damaged the siding.
Peter Armstrong | Christ Church Cathedral

The St. Louis Regional Bomb Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating what they describe as a series of six arsons at predominately black churches in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The latest, Ebenezer Lutheran Church at 1011 Theobald St., in the Baden neighborhood of St. Louis, was damaged sometime between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m Sunday. The buildings have all been empty at the times of the fires, which began when the arsonist lit exterior doors on fire.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

US Senator Dick Durbin is proposing a carrot-and-stick approach to encourage police departments in Illinois to trace guns used in crimes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives runs the internet-based system known as eTrace, which can tell investigators who first purchased the gun and where it was manufactured.  But Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, says just half of the police departments or sheriff’s offices in Illinois use the  system.