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Gun Rights Face Whirlwind Of Federal Action In 2024

Gun Rights Face Whirlwind Of Federal Action In 2024

Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)
(Illustration by The…



Gun Rights Face Whirlwind Of Federal Action In 2024

Authored by Michael Clements via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Shutterstock)

Eighteen months after it was enacted, President Joe Biden credited the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) for “saving lives.”

“I am proud to have taken more executive action than any president in history to combat gun violence in America, and I will never stop fighting to get even more done,” President Biden said in a Jan. 5 statement

“Congress must enact universal background checks, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, end the gun industry’s immunity from liability, and pass a national red flag law.” 

President Biden credited the enhanced background checks in the BSCA for denying “more than 500 illegal gun purchases by people under 21 years old who presented a danger to our communities.” 

He has also touted the disbursement of $1.5 billion to schools to add safety measures, and an increase in prosecutions of gun dealers due to a “revised definition” in the BSCA. 

Second Amendment advocates, on the other hand, say that the BSCA has done nothing but restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans.

Mark Oliva, managing director of public affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said the Biden administration has used the BSCA “as a launching point for executive overreach.”

He said the president has issued executive orders, promoted new laws, directed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to write new rules, and changed legal definitions to get the gun control he wants. 

“And that, of course, would be illegal. The executive branch cannot gin up or just miracle out of thin air their own criminal law,” Mr. Oliva told The Epoch Times.

White House officials didn’t respond to an email from The Epoch Times seeking comment for this story.

A San Mateo County sheriff's deputy enters the crime scene area as law enforcement officials investigate a mass shooting in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Jan. 23, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Federal officials said that violent crime involving firearms was on the rise, especially from 2019 to 2022 during the pandemic, and the BSCA was crafted to address the problem.

According to FBI crime statistics, violent crimes, including homicides, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery spiked during the pandemic.

Homicides increased from 14,678 in 2019 to 18,965 in 2020, according to FBI data. In 2022, they had reached 19,200 nationwide.

Many experts blame lockdowns, school closures, business shutdowns, and other pandemic-related issues for the increase.

In addition, the May 2020 death of George Floyd during an arrest by Minneapolis police officers sparked riots and calls to defund the police. Many of America’s largest cities heeded those calls, either cutting police department budgets or diverting funds to other programs.

This resulted in fewer officers on the streets and a hesitancy by some police officers to interact with citizens, out of concern over how the action might be portrayed in the media.

Protesters hold signs in support of defunding the police in Oakland, Calif., on July 25, 2020. (Natasha Moustache/Getty Images)

Those localized issues may have skewed the numbers, according to a research group.

A study by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) found that 2 percent of U.S. counties accounted for 56 percent of murders in 2020. The study, published in January 2023, showed that the vast majority of communities didn’t have a serious violent crime problem.

Homicides fell by an average of 14 percent nationally in the first nine months of 2023, compared to the year-earlier period, according to FBI data, although the agency says not all law enforcement agencies supplied data. And the homicide rate remains higher than pre-pandemic 2019.

The 2023 decrease is one of the statistics that the Biden administration hails as proof of the BSCA’s success.

“There’s more work to do, but we’re making real progress: there was a significant drop in crime in 2023—including one of the largest-ever yearly declines in homicides in history,” President Biden said in the Jan. 5 statement.

But, several factors other than the BSCA could have played a role, said Second Amendment rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, the founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation.

A woman prepares to fire a rifle at a gun range during the Rod of Iron Freedom Festival in Greeley, Pa., on Oct. 9, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

He said that even before the BSCA was enacted, courts and local and state governments had been affirming and expanding gun rights. And, changes that had been made in the wake of the 2020 riots were being rolled back in some areas.

Many cities, including Chicago, New York, and Portland, Oregon, that had downsized their police department budgets, reversed course as crime increased.

According to the National Association for Gun Rights, 27 states now allow so-called “Constitutional carry,” the carrying of firearms without a license. So, criminals in those states know their intended victims are more likely to be armed than previously had been the case.

Between 2019 and 2023, 14 states adopted Constitutional carry laws. Six of those states, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, Florida, and Georgia, adopted Constitutional carry in 2022.

“I don’t think [the BSCA] has had much impact other than to provide [President Biden] with talking points,” Mr. Gottlieb told The Epoch Times.

Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) talks to reporters as he walks through the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington on June 23, 2022. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In addition, changes in how the FBI gathers crime data means that fewer police departments reported data for 2021 and 2022, including those in some of the nation’s largest cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

The FBI said that in 2022, 15,724 agencies submitted data out of the 18,884 eligible “state, county, city, university and college, and tribal agencies.”

Republicans who supported the BSCA promised the law would address violent crime without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) took heat for helping broker the deal with Democrats. In a Jan. 2 email to The Epoch Times, Mr. Cornyn’s press secretary, Tatum Wallace, wrote that the senator stands by his decision.

Since the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act became law in June 2022, Texas colleges, universities, school districts, and community organizations have received nearly $40 million for school safety, community violence prevention, and mental health resources,” Ms. Wallace said.

In addition, she wrote that the BSCA has led to nearly 20 indictments of violent offenders in jurisdictions across the country and provided $200 million in new Byrne JAG formula grant funding for crisis intervention programs, mental health courts, veterans treatment programs, and drug treatment courts.

“Every state, including states with Republican governors, has accepted this funding pursuant to an implementation plan,” Ms. Wallace wrote.

In September 2023, barely 16 months after the BSCA was signed, Mr. Cornyn and 16 other senators were criticizing a decision by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to cut funding for archery and hunter safety programs in public schools to comply with the BSCA. According to a letter signed by Mr. Cornyn and 16 other senators, Mr. Cardona misread the law.

In response to Mr. Cardona’s decision, Mr. Cornyn, Sen. Kyrstyn Sinema (I-Ariz.), and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act to clarify that students may have programs and activities such as archery and hunting safety education under the BSCA.

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Tyler Durden Wed, 01/17/2024 - 21:25

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Analyst reviews Apple stock price target amid challenges

Here’s what could happen to Apple shares next.



They said it was bound to happen.

It was Jan. 11, 2024 when software giant Microsoft  (MSFT)  briefly passed Apple  (AAPL)  as the most valuable company in the world.

Microsoft's stock closed 0.5% higher, giving it a market valuation of $2.859 trillion. 

It rose as much as 2% during the session and the company was briefly worth $2.903 trillion. Apple closed 0.3% lower, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.886 trillion. 

"It was inevitable that Microsoft would overtake Apple since Microsoft is growing faster and has more to benefit from the generative AI revolution," D.A. Davidson analyst Gil Luria said at the time, according to Reuters.

The two tech titans have jostled for top spot over the years and Microsoft was ahead at last check, with a market cap of $3.085 trillion, compared with Apple's value of $2.684 trillion.

Analysts noted that Apple had been dealing with weakening demand, including for the iPhone, the company’s main source of revenue. 

Demand in China, a major market, has slumped as the country's economy makes a slow recovery from the pandemic and competition from Huawei.

Sales in China of Apple's iPhone fell by 24% in the first six weeks of 2024 compared with a year earlier, according to research firm Counterpoint, as the company contended with stiff competition from a resurgent Huawei "while getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi," said senior Analyst Mengmeng Zhang.

“Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now," he said.

A man scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro. Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images.

Future Publishing/Getty Images

Big plans for China

Counterpoint said that the first six weeks of 2023 saw abnormally high numbers with significant unit sales being deferred from December 2022 due to production issues.

Apple is planning to open its eighth store in Shanghai – and its 47th across China – on March 21.

Related: Tech News Now: OpenAI says Musk contract 'never existed', Xiaomi's EV, and more

The company also plans to expand its research centre in Shanghai to support all of its product lines and open a new lab in southern tech hub Shenzhen later this year, according to the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, Apple announced changes to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which went into effect last week, Reuters reported on March 12.

Beginning this spring, software developers operating in Europe will be able to distribute apps to EU customers directly from their own websites instead of through the App Store.

"To reflect the DMA’s changes, users in the EU can install apps from alternative app marketplaces in iOS 17.4 and later," Apple said on its website, referring to the software platform that runs iPhones and iPads. 

"Users will be able to download an alternative marketplace app from the marketplace developer’s website," the company said.

Apple has also said it will appeal a $2 billion EU antitrust fine for thwarting competition from Spotify  (SPOT)  and other music streaming rivals via restrictions on the App Store.

The company's shares have suffered amid all this upheaval, but some analysts still see good things in Apple's future.

Bank of America Securities confirmed its positive stance on Apple, maintaining a buy rating with a steady price target of $225, according to

The firm's analysis highlighted Apple's pricing strategy evolution since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, with initial prices set at $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model.

BofA said that Apple has consistently launched new iPhone models, including the Pro/Pro Max versions, to target the premium market. 

Analyst says Apple selloff 'overdone'

Concurrently, prices for previous models are typically reduced by about $100 with each new release. 

This strategy, coupled with installment plans from Apple and carriers, has contributed to the iPhone's installed base reaching a record 1.2 billion in 2023, the firm said.

More Tech Stocks:

Apple has effectively shifted its sales mix toward higher-value units despite experiencing slower unit sales, BofA said.

This trend is expected to persist and could help mitigate potential unit sales weaknesses, particularly in China. 

BofA also noted Apple's dominance in the high-end market, maintaining a market share of over 90% in the $1,000 and above price band for the past three years.

The firm also cited the anticipation of a multi-year iPhone cycle propelled by next-generation AI technology, robust services growth, and the potential for margin expansion.

On Monday, Evercore ISI analysts said they believed that the sell-off in the iPhone maker’s shares may be “overdone.”

The firm said that investors' growing preference for AI-focused stocks like Nvidia  (NVDA)  has led to a reallocation of funds away from Apple. 

In addition, Evercore said concerns over weakening demand in China, where Apple may be losing market share in the smartphone segment, have affected investor sentiment.

And then ongoing regulatory issues continue to have an impact on investor confidence in the world's second-biggest company.

“We think the sell-off is rather overdone, while we suspect there is strong valuation support at current levels to down 10%, there are three distinct drivers that could unlock upside on the stock from here – a) Cap allocation, b) AI inferencing, and c) Risk-off/defensive shift," the firm said in a research note.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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Major typhoid fever surveillance study in sub-Saharan Africa indicates need for the introduction of typhoid conjugate vaccines in endemic countries

There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high…



There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high burden combined with the threat of typhoid strains resistant to antibiotic treatment calls for stronger prevention strategies, including the use and implementation of typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) in endemic settings along with improvements in access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Credit: IVI

There is a high burden of typhoid fever in sub-Saharan African countries, according to a new study published today in The Lancet Global Health. This high burden combined with the threat of typhoid strains resistant to antibiotic treatment calls for stronger prevention strategies, including the use and implementation of typhoid conjugate vaccines (TCVs) in endemic settings along with improvements in access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.


The findings from this 4-year study, the Severe Typhoid in Africa (SETA) program, offers new typhoid fever burden estimates from six countries: Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, and Nigeria, with four countries recording more than 100 cases for every 100,000 person-years of observation, which is considered a high burden. The highest incidence of typhoid was found in DRC with 315 cases per 100,000 people while children between 2-14 years of age were shown to be at highest risk across all 25 study sites.


There are an estimated 12.5 to 16.3 million cases of typhoid every year with 140,000 deaths. However, with generic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain, and the need for blood culture sampling to make a definitive diagnosis, it is difficult for governments to capture the true burden of typhoid in their countries.


“Our goal through SETA was to address these gaps in typhoid disease burden data,” said lead author Dr. Florian Marks, Deputy Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI). “Our estimates indicate that introduction of TCV in endemic settings would go to lengths in protecting communities, especially school-aged children, against this potentially deadly—but preventable—disease.”


In addition to disease incidence, this study also showed that the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in Salmonella Typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever, has led to more reliance beyond the traditional first line of antibiotic treatment. If left untreated, severe cases of the disease can lead to intestinal perforation and even death. This suggests that prevention through vaccination may play a critical role in not only protecting against typhoid fever but reducing the spread of drug-resistant strains of the bacteria.


There are two TCVs prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and available through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In February 2024, IVI and SK bioscience announced that a third TCV, SKYTyphoid™, also achieved WHO PQ, paving the way for public procurement and increasing the global supply.


Alongside the SETA disease burden study, IVI has been working with colleagues in three African countries to show the real-world impact of TCV vaccination. These studies include a cluster-randomized trial in Agogo, Ghana and two effectiveness studies following mass vaccination in Kisantu, DRC and Imerintsiatosika, Madagascar.


Dr. Birkneh Tilahun Tadesse, Associate Director General at IVI and Head of the Real-World Evidence Department, explains, “Through these vaccine effectiveness studies, we aim to show the full public health value of TCV in settings that are directly impacted by a high burden of typhoid fever.” He adds, “Our final objective of course is to eliminate typhoid or to at least reduce the burden to low incidence levels, and that’s what we are attempting in Fiji with an island-wide vaccination campaign.”


As more countries in typhoid endemic countries, namely in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, consider TCV in national immunization programs, these data will help inform evidence-based policy decisions around typhoid prevention and control.




About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.

IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is recently pre-qualified by WHO.

IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden, a Country Office in Austria, and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, Finland, and Thailand provide state funding. For more information, please visit



Aerie Em, Global Communications & Advocacy Manager
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US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever… And Debt Explodes

US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever… And Debt Explodes

Earlier today, CNBC’s…



US Spent More Than Double What It Collected In February, As 2024 Deficit Is Second Highest Ever... And Debt Explodes

Earlier today, CNBC's Brian Sullivan took a horse dose of Red Pills when, about six months after our readers, he learned that the US is issuing $1 trillion in debt every 100 days, which prompted him to rage tweet, (or rageX, not sure what the proper term is here) the following:

We’ve added 60% to national debt since 2018. Germany - a country with major economic woes - added ‘just’ 32%.   

Maybe it will never matter.   Maybe MMT is real.   Maybe we just cancel or inflate it out. Maybe career real estate borrowers or career politicians aren’t the answer.

I have no idea.  Only time will tell.   But it’s going to be fascinating to watch it play out.

He is right: it will be fascinating, and the latest budget deficit data simply confirmed that the day of reckoning will come very soon, certainly sooner than the two years that One River's Eric Peters predicted this weekend for the coming "US debt sustainability crisis."

According to the US Treasury, in February, the US collected $271 billion in various tax receipts, and spent $567 billion, more than double what it collected.

The two charts below show the divergence in US tax receipts which have flatlined (on a trailing 6M basis) since the covid pandemic in 2020 (with occasional stimmy-driven surges)...

... and spending which is about 50% higher compared to where it was in 2020.

The end result is that in February, the budget deficit rose to $296.3 billion, up 12.9% from a year prior, and the second highest February deficit on record.

And the punchline: on a cumulative basis, the budget deficit in fiscal 2024 which began on October 1, 2023 is now $828 billion, the second largest cumulative deficit through February on record, surpassed only by the peak covid year of 2021.

But wait there's more: because in a world where the US is spending more than twice what it is collecting, the endgame is clear: debt collapse, and while it won't be tomorrow, or the week after, it is coming... and it's also why the US is now selling $1 trillion in debt every 100 days just to keep operating (and absorbing all those millions of illegal immigrants who will keep voting democrat to preserve the socialist system of the US, so beloved by the Soros clan).

And it gets even worse, because we are now in the ponzi finance stage of the Minsky cycle, with total interest on the debt annualizing well above $1 trillion, and rising every day

... having already surpassed total US defense spending and soon to surpass total health spending and, finally all social security spending, the largest spending category of all, which means that US debt will now rise exponentially higher until the inevitable moment when the US dollar loses its reserve status and it all comes crashing down.

We conclude with another observation by CNBC's Brian Sullivan, who quotes an email by a DC strategist...

.. which lays out the proposed Biden budget as follows:

The budget deficit will growth another $16 TRILLION over next 10 years. Thats *with* the proposed massive tax hikes.

Without them the deficit will grow $19 trillion.

That's why you will hear the "deficit is being reduced by $3 trillion" over the decade.

No family budget or business could exist with this kind of math.

Of course, in the long run, neither can the US... and since neither party will ever cut the spending which everyone by now is so addicted to, the best anyone can do is start planning for the endgame.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/12/2024 - 18:40

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