Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Gun Show Loophole?
In theory, the system works. President Obama, citing law enforcement records, claims that over the last 14 years that 1.5 million sales to potentially dangerous people were stopped. Here's the problem: guns may be purchased anywhere, including gun shows, without any kind of background check. Despite their protestations to the contrary, gun show operators run a pretty loose ship. I've been to local shows and seen it myself. While the vendors who pay for space do have a license to sell guns, nobody is actually checking to see that they do so. I would guess most if not all do perform the necessary checks, since not doing so could result in the loss of their FFL. They're not really part of the problem. The real danger is the transactions that take place between private individuals. Signs at the shows I have attended make it clear that sales between private individuals are allowed at the show as long as both parties are residents of the same state. Think anybody is policing that requirement? Even if they did, there is absolutely no background check of any kind. I saw transactions taking place in the parking lot.
Another problem is online sales. Craigslist is filled with thousands of ads for guns, from .22 caliber pea shooters to assault weapons. No background check required. The NRA and others argue that is how it should be, that selling a gun is the same as selling any other personal property, say a car or a set of golf clubs. It's an argument that appeals to most Americans sense of freedom; we should be able to sell our property without government interference or oversight.
I get that. It's just that I can't remember the last time someone purposely drove a car into a school in an attempt to kill people, or anyone went crazy in a movie theater with a 5 iron.