Washington state attorney general plans for Firearms ‘assault weapon’ and ‘Bump Stock” ban

Ferguson, seen here at a September press conference, wants to raise age limits to buy guns as well as establish controls on certain semi-automatics and their magazines. (Photo: Washington Attorney General's office)


Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told local media he is up for a renewed push for a prohibition on “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

Ferguson, who unsuccessfully backed a similar move in 2016, told The Daily World last week that he would like to see the ban legislation succeed. “We are bringing back legislation that will outlaw the sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines,” he said. “This would limit magazine size to 10 rounds maximum.”

Citing a “duty to protect the public” last year, Ferguson requested legislation that largely mirrored California’s long-standing assault weapon ban enacted in 1989 and enhanced several times over the years. The resulting bills, SB 5050 and HB 3087, never made it out of committee.

To reinforce his point, Ferguson issued a 26-page white paper last October urging changes that Washington policymakers could consider to change firearms access in the state. Among the increased regulations advocated were several steps that approximated the state’s Extreme Risk Protective Orders, which were adopted by a voter referendum in the general election.

Besides the reach for an assault weapon ban and magazine cap, Ferguson said last week he would like to see movement on a bump stock ban — which Gov. Jay Inslee supports — as well as to raise the minimum age for gun purchases in the state to 21.

“In this state if you want to buy an assault rifle you can walk into a (sporting goods store) and if you’re 18 you can walk right out with one,” Ferguson said. “If you want to buy a handgun, you have to be 21 and go through a waiting period before you take it home. It makes no sense.”

Murder Rates Before and After Gun Bans

Every place that has been banned guns (either all guns or all handguns) has seen murder rates go up. You cannot point to one place where murder rates have fallen, whether it’s Chicago or D.C. or even island nations such as England, Jamaica, or Ireland.

For an example of homicide rates before and after a ban, take the case of the handgun ban in England and Wales in January 1997 (source here see Table 1.01 and the column marked “Offences currently recorded as homicide per million population,” UPDATED numbers available here).  After the ban, clearly homicide rates bounce around over time, but there is only one year (2010) where the homicide rate is lower than it was in 1996.  The immediate effect was about a 50 percent increase in homicide rates.  Firearm homicide rate had almost doubled between 1996 and 2002 (see here p. 11).   The homicide and firearm homicide rates only began falling when there was a large increase in the number of police officers during 2003 and 2004.   Despite the huge increase in the number of police, the murder rate still remained slightly higher than the immediate pre-ban rate.

2016 deadliest in five years for police officers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Nassau County deputy was one of 135 officers killed in the line of duty in the United States this year — a number that marks the highest total since 177 officers were killed in 2011.

Nassau County Deputy Eric Oliver was died just before Thanksgiving when he was hit by a car while chasing a suspect across a highway.

Of those killed in 2016, seven were Florida officers, including one K-9 officer, according to a report released Thursday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

“Every single time an officer falls, our communities lose so much more than a public servant. We lose a friend, a family members, a loved one… but most of all, we lose heroes who were willing to sacrifice everything to keep us safe,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “That kind of sacrifice isn’t common, but it’s the only reason we become law enforcement officers. These numbers represent true tragedy.”

That tragedy is also affecting the recruitment of new officers, said Florida Police Chiefs Association executive director Amy Mercer.

“We’re hearing from family members of law enforcement officers that they scared. They’re concerned for the life of their family member being in the law enforcement profession,” Mercer said. “When you see a police officer, go up and thank them and let them know you are out their supporting them.”


Firearms industry adds over 20,000 jobs

The gun industry added 24,763 jobs in 2015 for a nationwide total of 287,986, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.


That’s an increase of nearly 10% from the year before in manufacturing and retail jobs for guns, ammunition and related supplies, like hunting gear.


Job growth in the last few years has been “nothing short of remarkable,” said the NSSF, which reported a job increase of 73% since 2008.


The NSSF, the gun industry group based in Newtown, Connecticut, said the jobs average $50,180 in annual wages and benefits. Many of these jobs are located in rural areas and small towns where cost of living is relatively low.


The top states for gun industry jobs are Texas, with about 21,386, followed by California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Missouri.


The NSSF said the “economic impact” from revenue, wages, benefits and taxes totaled $49.3 billion last year, an increase of nearly 15% from 2014. This is a broad measure that includes revenue, wages, benefits and taxes related to gun sales.


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Who Needs a Federal Firearms License to Sell Firearms?

Who needs a Federal license to deal in firearms?
Under federal law, any person who engages in the business of dealing in firearms
must be licensed.
What does it mean to be “engaged in the business of dealing in
Under federal law, a person engaged in the business of dealing in firearms is a per-
son who “devotes time, attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course
of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the
repetitive purchase and resale of firearms.”
Under federal law, conducting business “with the principal objective of livelihood
and profit” means that “the intent underlying the sale or disposition of firearms is
predominantly one of obtaining livelihood and pecuniary gain, as opposed to other
intents, such as improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection.”
Consistent with this approach, federal law explicitly exempts persons “who make
occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a
personal collection or for a hobby, or who sells all or part of his personal collection
of firearms.”
Has ATF defined what it means to be “engaged in the business” of
dealing in firearms?
ATF has published regulatory definitions for the terms “engaged in the business”
and “principal objective of livelihood and profit.” ATF’s regulation defining when a
person is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms is identical to the lan-
guage of the statute, though in the definition of “dealer,” ATF clarified that the term
includes “any person who engages in such business or occupation on a part-time

Online Sales Expected To Increase 6 To 8 Percent to $105 billion

The National Retail Federation estimates solid retail sales growth this holiday. E-commerce is expected to outpace overall retail sales growth in November 2015 and December 2015.


As many retailers are getting ready for a holiday sales surge, the National Retail Federation announced Thursday that it expects sales to increase 3.7 percent to $630.5 billion in November and December 2015. Online sales are once again expected outpace overall growth, increasing between 6 and 8 percent to as much as $105 billion.

The NRF estimates holiday sales will account for approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s total annual sales of $3.2 trillion. These estimates exclude autos, gas and restaurant sales.

“With several months of solid retail sales behind us, we’re heading into the all-important holiday season fully expecting to see healthy growth,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect families to spend prudently and deliberately, though still less constrained than what we saw even two years ago.”

“Price, value and even timing will all play a role in how, when, where and why people shop over the holiday season,” said Shay. “Retailers will be competitive not only on price, but on digital initiatives, store hours, product offerings and much more.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast takes into account indicators such as consumer credit, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales releases. Forecasts include the non-store category which covers direct-to-consumer, kiosks and online sales.

PayPal Outages Cost Merchants $ Millions

Merchants impacted by Thursday evening’s PayPal outage took to Twitter to share their outrage.

Payments company PayPal suffered a massive outage late Thursday night, which took down payments through the service across a number of sites, including former parent company eBay EBAY -0.27% and Etsy, a marketplace for homemade goods.

The interruption, which was caused by an outage in one of PayPal’s data centers, lasted for two hours. Despite the outage only lasting for a short time, some merchants reported a loss in sales because of the disruption. Etsy ETSY 2.11% halted sales using PayPal PYPL -1.68% , and many merchants and users took to Twitter to express their outrage about the outage. PayPal has 10 million merchants using its payment service.

The economic impact of a PayPal outage is actually significant for the company’s 173 million users. PayPal processed $235 billion in payment volume in 2014, or $644 million per day on average. For two hours, that would equal $51 million in payments. While these are estimates, that’s a large loss for merchants.

It’s a sign of how widespread and significant PayPal has become in powering e-commerce globally. Hiccups with the service can have meaningful impact on merchants, their sales, and their sanity.

Of course, PayPal users, in many cases, could have switched to using their credit cards for their online shopping. So merchants may not have lost out entirely.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for PayPal issued this statement. “The network experienced an intermittent interruption during a period of relatively low traffic. At 7pm PT, the majority of volume is in APAC [Asia and Pacific countries] not in EMEA [Europe and the Middle East] or USA. This interruption was caused by a data center power outage and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”


Only 25% of Debit Cards Will Have Chips in December: Pulse

Because federal regulations threw a wrench into the debit card industry as it prepared for EMV, merchants will be accepting primarily EMV credit cards when the liability shift hits in exactly three weeks.

The Durbin amendment’s Regulation II, calling for an application identifier on debit cards that would include at least two unaffiliated networks for routing, created a delay of several months in getting chip-based EMV debit cards coded properly and issued.

As such, merchants have been holding off on preparing for EMV debit, at least until after the busy holiday season, while also waiting for issuers to get more cards in the hands of consumers.

That process is in full swing as 90% of U.S. financial institutions either have begun issuing EMV debit cards or plan to do so by the end of the year, according to the 2015 Debit Issuer study from Pulse, Discover’s ATM and debit network company.

The U.S. hits its long-awaited EMV liability shift on Oct. 1. That’s when the party unable to accept chip-card technology becomes liable for fraudulent mag-stripe transactions at the point of sale.

Based on the issuer’s plans, 25% of U.S. debit cards – approximately 71 million cards – will be migrated to chip by the end of 2015. The percentage is expected to rise to 73% by the end of 2016 and 96% by the end of 2017.

This year’s Pulse study “provides the most compelling evidence so far that we are quickly approaching the end of magnetic-stripe-only cards and entering the era of chip cards,” Steve Sievert, executive vice president of marketing and communications for Pulse, stated in a Sept. 10 press release. “With fraud continuing to be a major concern among cardholders and a top priority for financial institutions, the issuance of chip cards represents a major step toward reducing losses from counterfeit cards.”

The majority of issuers, 62 %, plan to implement chip debit cards using an accelerated migration strategy that includes combining natural reissuance when their account holders’ debit cards expire, with a targeted reissuance to heavy card users, international travelers and other customers who request a chip card.

The other approaches are natural migration, used by 23% of issuers, when cards expire and mass migration, used by 15%, to quickly convert all cards.

Issuers will include the so-called common AID on all of the newly issued EMV debit cards. Most are planning on making chip-and-PIN the preferred approach to their cardholder verification method.

While chip-and-PIN is common for debit transactions, the card brands and merchant organizations have tussled over chip-and-signature vs. chip-and-PIN on the credit card side for EMV. Merchants generally seek the stronger security of adding a PIN, while some card networks, particularly Visa, favor signature and fear changing consumer habit and driving up merchant costs with PIN pads.

Financial institutions estimate the cost of a chip debit card will be double that of a standard magnetic-stripe card, Pulse reported. Large banks report the lowest average cost of $2.17 per chip card, while credit unions have the highest average cost at $2.90 per chip card.

Based on the higher cost of chip cards, financial institutions will spend an incremental $69 million to replace magnetic-stripe cards with chip cards in 2015 and $266 million overall for the entire migration period, according to the study.

“The industry’s migration to chip debit cards is not motivated by the promise of profits,” said Tony Hayes, a partner at Oliver Wyman who co-led the study. “Instead, issuers report that they are investing to help safeguard cardholder information, enhance the integrity of the overall payment system and protect their own reputation.”

More than 70% of issuers cite fraud as a key challenge for their debit business. Every financial institution participating in the study reported their cards were associated with a data breach in 2014. However, less than one percent of all cards experienced fraudulent activity.

Overall, issuers reported losses of 0.7 basis points to fraud when the debit card was used with a PIN and 6.1 basis points when the card was used with a signature. These reported loss rates translate into 0.3 and 2.2 cents per transaction, on average, for PIN and signature debit, respectively.

During the past decade, PIN debit loss rates reported by issuers have stayed constant from 0.6 to 0.7 basis points, while signature fraud loss rates have increased by 30 percent from 4.7 basis points in 2005 to 6.1 basis points in 2014.

Aug Sees Record Firearms Sales

WASHINGTON — Renewed calls for more restrictive gun laws, following a succession of fatal shootings in the United States, immediately appear to be generating a boost for the gun industry.

Newly released August records show that the FBI posted 1.7 million background checks required of gun purchasers at federally licensed dealers, the highest number recorded in any August since gun checks began in 1998. The numbers follow new monthly highs for June (1.5 million) and July (1.6 million), a period which spans a series of deadly gun attacks — from Charleston to Roanoke — and proposals for additional firearm legislation.

While the FBI does not track actual gun sales, as multiple firearms can be included in a transaction by a single buyer, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s numbers are an indicator of a market upswing in the face of growing anxiety about access to guns.

“Whenever there is a call for gun control, sales increase,” said Larry Keane, general counsel for the firearm industry trade association National Shooting Sports Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is a pattern that repeats itself.”

The summer trend is not on par with the panic buying boom that followed the 2012 Newtown massacre, which jump-started state and federal campaigns for a host of new firearm measures. During the months that followed the Connecticut attack, which featured new calls for an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks, apprehensive gun buyers emptied the shelves of dealers across the country. Yet, the recent uptick represents a similar buying pattern that dates to the uneasy period before 1994 adoption of the assault weapons ban. (That ban expired in 2004.)

Virginia Del. Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the state Assembly who proposed an expansion of background checks following last month’s shooting deaths of two journalists near Roanoke, said the stockpiling of weapons represented an “over-reaction.”

“We’re not at all threatening any one’s ability to get a gun,” Hope said. “What we’re talking about here is common sense legislation. I don’t think any one is threatened by background checks.”

In the recent Virginia shootings, an attack carried out on live television, gunman Vester Flanagan passed a background check prior to last month’s purchase of two Glock handguns, including the weapon used in the Aug. 26 assault in which reporter Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed. A third person, a local chamber of commerce official, was wounded. Flanagan later used one of the weapons to kill himself.

Hope said his expanded background check proposal, supported by a petition containing 28,000 signatures, is aimed at the unchecked market of private firearm transactions, mostly over the Internet and at gun shows, that account for about 40% of firearm sales.

“I chose background checks, not because it would have prevented (the Virginia shooting) but because this would be easiest to pass,” Hope said. “We will not be able to prevent every single incident. We need to do something.”

But Keane said the legislative proposals commonly offered in the emotional wake of fatal shootings often do not account for specific circumstances leading up to the attacks.

“These things are being offered up before the person is even arrested or before (investigators) even know what happened,” Keane said. “For people concerned about their Second Amendment rights, the concern never goes away.”


Keane said the gun purchases prompted by calls for new restrictions are “certainly legitimate to the person exercising their fundamental civil liberties protected by the Second Amendment.”

“The concern that anti-gun politicians are seeking to infringe and restrict the right to keep and bear arms is very real and well-founded,” he said.

Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said there is risk during periods of increased sales when all purchases are not covered by background checks.

“When gun sales rise, more and more weapons find a set of dangerous hands to call home,” Gross said. “There are people in this country, people like felons, fugitives, and domestic abusers who we all agree simply should not have guns.”



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Forecast: $125 billion in mobile/online transactions by 2018

Juniper global forecast: $125 billion in mobile/online transactions by 2018

Hampshire, U.K., Aug. 24, 2015 – New data from Juniper Research has revealed that the number of annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion annually by 2018, up by more than 60% on this year’s total.

The research, argued that medium term growth would be driven by a variety of factors including a rise in “commuter commerce” (on-the-go purchases) which would itself be fuelled by greater deployments of Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity on public transport. It also observed that digital transaction volumes would be further bolstered with the continued transition from physical formats (such as DVDs and CD-ROMs) to digital, and the rise in streamed subscription services.

China Overtakes US in eRetail Sales

Meanwhile, the new research — ‘Mobile & Online Purchases: Cards, Carrier Billing & Third Party Payment Platforms 2015-2020’ — highlighted the dramatic surge in Chinese eRetail, with Alibaba attracting more than 330 million buyers during 2014. It observed that with nearly $450 billion in eRetail sales during 2014, China had comfortably surpassed the US ($296 billion) to become the largest single market, with Japan, the UK and France completing the top 5.

Data Breaches Damage Consumer Confidence

However, the research cautioned that several high profile data breaches at retailers had resulted in significant consumer unease. As research author Dr Windsor Holden observed, “At worst, data breaches can lead to significant customer churn, together with possible remuneration requirements. Consumers need to be reassured that their vital information is not being compromised or shared.”

Other findings from the research include:

  • Retailers need to deliver a consistency of message, branding and shopping experience across all channels.
  • Retailers should also ensure that they scale up the resources on offer at peak periods (eg Black Friday or when promotions are being offered), to cope with the likelihood of additional pressures on online customer support.

The whitepaper, ‘Buying Into Online Shopping,’ is available to download from the Juniper website together with further details of the full research and the attendant Interactive Forecast Excel (IFxl).

Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.

Source: Company press release.


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