November 21, 2014:
Firearm Sales Skyrocket in Ferguson
Firearm retailers in and around Ferguson, Missouri are reporting a sharp increase in sales. Experts attribute the increase to the upcoming grand jury announcement in the Michael Brown case. Initial statistics suggest that as much as 75% of the purchases are by first-time firearm owners. Concealed carry permits have also skyrocketed in recent weeks, with residents desiring a heightened sense of security given the tumultuous atmosphere. Many firearm retailers have reported that prior to the incident involving Michael Brown, they sold anywhere from three to five firearms per-day – a number that pales in comparison to the 20-30 firearms per-day purchased since the incident.
Museum Exhibits in Washington Shut-Down Due to Initiative 594
Initiative 594, a piece of firearm legislation which significantly expands the requirements for background checks for firearm transfers within the State of Washington, has resulted in the closure of an exhibit at Washington’s Lynden Pioneer Museum. The museum exhibit displayed 11 firearms on loan from various collectors of World War II artifacts. Troy Luginbill, the director of the Museum, stated that the relevant part of the Initiative prohibits transfer of firearms outside of antiques and transactions among family members without background checks. This left Luginbill no choice but to return the loaned firearms to their owners. Luginbill stated that despite reading through the law about 10 times, he was unable to find a loophole which would exempt the exhibit. A copy of Initiative 594 can be found here.
Florida Mulls Expanded Background Checks
Firearm-control advocacy groups in Florida have recently suggested that a push to expand state background check requirements has been set in motion. The League of Women Voters Gun Safety Committee noted at a public meeting earlier this week that they may make attempts to put the issue of more extensive background checks for firearm transfers and purchases onto voters’ ballots in future elections. The groups may face a significant challenge, however, as elected Florida lawmakers have passed a record number of pro-firearm laws in the state in recent years. Moreover, a ballot referendum in the state must obtain super-majority vote (60% or more) to pass. In contrast, Washington’s recently enacted Initiative 594 only needed a simple majority to pass.