Sunday, January 28, 2007

Closing the "Gun Show Loophole"

The gun show loophole

The anti's have done a very good job of introducing that nonsensical phrase into the American psyche. That phrase is meaningless, a false representation, and basically a lie. There is no such thing as a "Gun show loophole". Firearm transactions at gun shows are regulated by the same local, state and federal laws as any other firearm transaction in that locale. There is no special pass related to gun shows that allows you to purchase a firearm outside of the laws of the state.

The anti's, with the willing help of the media, are effective at spreading propaganda. Just ask a couple of your friends and acquaintances about the "Gun show loophole" and see what they say. There is now this belief that anyone can go to gun shows and purchase any firearm they desire without .gov regulation. This belief is, of course, wrong.

Along with the propaganda assault, comes the legislation.

On the federal level, House Bill H.R. 96 has been introduced by Representative Michael Castle of Delaware. H.R. 96 has three co-sponsors and is titled "Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2007". This is a horrendous bill which must be stopped. The purpose of this bill is not to close an imaginary loophole, but to put a stop to gun shows, period. Passage of this bill would make operating a gun show a paperwork and criminal liability nightmare. H.R. 96 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

On the local level, here in Texas we have HB 594 submitted by Yvonne Davis. Yvonne Davis is the same anti who submitted HB 595 which I commented upon here. HB 594 is titled "An act Relating to the creation of certain offenses concerning firearm sales at gun shows." HB 594 has no co-sponsors and no real support in Austin. I doubt that this bill will even be debated, this time.

Neither one of these bills are new. Legislation such as this has been introduced before, and has failed. The problem is that each time legislation like this gets introduced, it gets a little bit more support. The Texas bill will fail this time around. I am not so sure about the federal one. I would hope it never makes it out of committee.

If there is no such thing as a gun show loophole, why are the anti's and the politicians pushing so hard to enact anti-gun show legislation?


If the answer you came up with has anything to do with criminals and illegal guns, then you have been influenced by the anti's propaganda machine. The Bureau of Justice Statistics performed a study in 2001 that determined that less than 1% of firearms owned by criminals were purchased at gun shows. Of the ones that were purchased at the gun shows, the majority were not purchased by the criminal, but by a friend or relative (straw purchases, already against the law). Gun shows are not major sources of firearms for criminals. The politicians know this, even the anti's know this, they have the same reports and facts that we do. So then why are they so determined to close gun shows?

The answer is a simple one, closing down gun shows will have a major negative effect upon the firearm industry and more importantly, the gun culture in the United States. Gun shows are a place to meet and interact with other like minded individuals, to learn about new products, and enjoy a bit of history. Most folks that attend a gun show don't purchase a firearm. I have attempted to get stats from local promoters on what percentage of attendees actually purchase a firearm, I will let you know when I hear back from them.

Gun shows are where most of us get a chance to see and handle the new products that are advertised in the gun magazines and at SHOT Show. I am interested in several of the new products that were introduced at this years SHOT Show and it will not be long before they are all available at one of the local larger gun shows. It would take several days of traveling from one gun shop to the next to check out all of these new products, and I would still probably not be able to see the wide array of historical firearms that are available at a good gun show.

It used to be that just about every department and hardware store had a gun department. Firearms were just a normal part of life. Now finding a gun section in a hardware store is the exception rather than the rule, guns have disappeared from the everyday life of most individuals, and the sale of firearms is no longer considered to be "normal". Taking someone who is not familiar with firearms to a gun show allows them to see the wide variety of individuals who attend. At a gun show you will find people from every background, culture and economic level, drawn together by one interest... firearms.

If the anti's succeed in this attempt to close down gun shows, it will be another major coup. We will lose a lot more than just a place to go and buy firearms, we will lose a bit of our heritage and tradition as gun owners. We will lose access to new products and our ability to make informed decisions concerning new purchases will be restricted. We will lose one avenue of disseminating and discussing information relating to gun laws and other political issues important to gun owners. Grass roots organizations will have a harder time recruiting members and volunteers. Gun shows bring together all aspects of the gun culture, the hunters, target shooters, collectors, police and military. Closing down gun shows will give the anti's better leverage in driving wedges between these different groups of firearm enthusiasts and make further gun control easier to accomplish.

It is very important that we put a stop to legislation such as this. Call, write and fax your congress critter and let them know that legislation meant to curtail the business of operating gun shows will not be tolerated. Inform them of the facts concerning criminals and firearms (that the vast majority of firearms owned by criminals are either stolen or purchased on the black market), and that their time would be better spent focusing on the criminal, not the tool.

A couple of related articles from the NRA/ILA:

Gun Shows: An American Tradition

Fables, Myths & Other Tall Tales; FABLE XV: A gun show "loophole" exists that allows many criminals and terrorists to purchase guns.


Brent said...

This is a treasonous bill; very dangerous to liberty.

The bill would make it illegal for:

"a special firearms events operator to organize, plan, promote, or operate a special firearms event unless that operator--

`(A) not later than 30 days before the commencement of the special firearms event, notifies the Attorney General, in writing, of the date, time, duration, and location of the special firearms event, and the special firearms event vendors planning to participate;"

The bill does not define what or who a special firearms event operator is. An operator likely could be anyone participating to "organize, plan, promote, or operate" a gun show.

So, if I post on my blog that there will be a gun show at a certain place and time and the Attorney General has not been properly notified in writing then I am committing a serious offense. How serious?

"(B) Whoever knowingly violates section 932(a)(2) or 932(c) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both."

5 years for "promoting" a gun show. Wow. And according to Title 18, Part I, Chapter 44, Section 922.g, it is unlawful for any person-

"who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce."

John R said...

This law will shut down gun shows as we know them.

catfish said...

not only will it shut down gun shows, it'll also shut down the normal wheeling and dealing that goes on between shooters who are lusting after each other's safe queens.