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Fact or Fiction: The Gun Show Loophole

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By Chris Wagoner:

Well, I was asked on one of the Facebook pages I like to read why I was against “Common Sense Gun Control” and I must confess I was a little shocked. Why did this person think I was against any kind of gun control and what in the heck was this common sense gun control they were talking about all the time?

So I asked one of the people in the group (I will reveal what group in a bit…) “why you are against closing the deadly loopholes in our background check system?”

Again I sat there and was stymied. What loophole were they talking about? Were they talking about the “Gun Show Loophole” that so many people talk about but when asked what it is they can’t tell you for sure? Then, they went on to say that the loophole allows “minors and dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers easy access to guns.”

I almost fell out of my chair! What?! There are loopholes that allow this to happen? Of course I am against those types of people getting firearms illegally, I am against anyone getting a firearm illegally, key word being… illegally! But wait, it’s already illegal for them to buy firearms by law, so what loophole? A loophole is something that allows one to legally skirt the spirit of a law is it not? Not doing something that is already illegal, right? I was confused.

I responded to the now wound up member of this group, “what loophole are you talking about?” Then it came out, they replied “the gun show loophole”.

“What is that?” I asked.

“The gun show loophole allows anyone to walk into a gun show and buy a firearm without a background check, none, no checks at all.” They said, thinking they had me now. I would have to agree with them now, right?

“But it’s already illegal for someone who is not eligible to buy a firearm, like “minors and dangerous people like felons and domestic abusers” as they cited before, I said. “So it is a loophole that something is already illegal?” I went on to explain there is no such thing as a gun show loophole. The laws that apply outside the gun show, apply inside the gun show also. At most gun shows I have been to, most of the sellers in the show are Federal Firearms License holders. There are a few private sellers, but not all that many. All sales by a FFL dealer, regardless of location (in their store, gun show, or in a home) requires they do a background check on the buyer before selling the firearm. No exceptions (loopholes), even cops have to go through the background checks, and rightfully so.

So what they are really talking about is private sales. The transaction of selling a firearm from one private party to another. But if they had bothered to check, it is already a law (and a Federal Law to boot!) that even during a private sale of a firearm, it is illegal for a prohibited person to buy a firearm and for someone to sell them a firearm. Federal law (18 U.S.C. § 922[g] [1-9]) prohibits certain individuals from possessing firearms, ammunition, or explosives. The penalty for violating this law is ten years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. And guess who is on that list! Felons, Fugitives, drug or alcohol abusers, people adjudicated as mentally defective, dishonorably discharged former military, domestic abusers, even people who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. So there is already a very stiff Federal Law that prohibits these people from buying and selling firearms.

So in reality, there is no such thing as the “gun show loophole”. That is simply not true and does not exist.

Then, I wondered why so many people have taken up that mantra of “common sense gun control” and what do they know about current gun control laws? Well, if the above incident (which is fictitious but based on several conversations I have had with gun control advocates, the quoted text above is actually from the Mission statement of the group called “Mom’s Demand Action”. Their mission statement is already reality and illegal and they don’t even know it!

So in reality, how many of these prohibited people actually buy firearms from gun shows? How big of a problem is it? And what about other places? Well it just so happens that information is available from none other than the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. In their “Special Report, Firearm Violence, 1993-2011” published May of 2013, Report number NCJ 241730, they have some very interesting numbers they talk about. And remember this is the US Department of Justice, not some gun nut support group.

Here are just a couple of interesting quotes from this report:

In 2010, the rate of firearm homicide was 10.7 per 100,000 for persons ages 18 to 24, compared to 8.1 for persons ages 25 to 34 and 0.3 for persons age 11 or younger.” &From 1993 to 2010, the rate of homicides for persons ages 18 to 24 declined 51%, compared to a 35% decline for persons ages 25 to 34 and 50% for persons age 11 or younger.”

Really? Homicides are down that much? Then what is the problem? What about those darn Gun Shows that sell guns to just anyone (remember that’s false!) Well I went on to read this:

In 2004, among state prison inmates who possessed a gun at the time of offense, fewer than 2% bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show, about 10% purchased it from a retail store or pawnshop, 37% obtained it from family or friends, and another 40% obtained it from an illegal source (table 14). This was similar to the percentage distribution in 1997.”

And what Table 14 shows is that of the criminals interviewed (that’s how they got all this information) LESS THAN 0.8% bought their firearms at a gun show. What? You mean that all this noise about the “gun show loophole” aside from the fact it is not even real, the statistics show gun shows are not even a large problem? Did you catch the fact that most criminals get their guns illegally? 40% got their firearms illegally, either theft or burglary, drug deals, or black market. So why are these groups not focusing on the real problems? The ones that are really causing the issues? Because they do not want to listen to the facts, figures and logic.

So why not actually concentrate on the real problems that result in these guns getting into the wrong hands? Why not have universal background checks? Because you are only going to get law abiding citizens to do them, criminals are called criminals because they do not follow the law and will not follow UBC’s. Remember they do not get their guns from legitimate sources, they get them from other illegal sources.

And what about how simple it is to buy a firearm on the internet? You know, like a lot of the politicians have said, you can go online and buy a firearm and have it sent to your home. Well again I have to inform our good intended, but poorly informed politicians, no you can’t as a rule. Again where do they get these false ideas, and doesn’t anyone research anything anymore? If you buy a firearm from a Licensed Firearms dealer the firearm must be sent to another licensed firearms dealer near you where you go and pay a transfer fee and wait for it while a background check is performed! After that, you may take your firearm home. But what about buying one from a private person? Well those same Federal Laws I mentioned before still apply, regardless of how you buy a firearm or where you buy it from. If you are a prohibited person, it doesn’t matter where or how you try to get the firearm, you are breaking the Federal Law! Those darn pesky facts again, always getting in the way of things.

You know the old saying, if you repeat something often enough it will be believed as fact? Guess who constantly repeats these false statements about buying firearms? The anti-gun groups like “Everytown USA” & “Mom’s Demand Action” among a few. The mainstream media is also at fault for spreading false information on these issues.

So, the next time you discuss with someone the topic of “Common Sense Gun Control” or that pesky “Gun Show Loophole” your BS meter should be pegged at high! There are already stiff laws on the books to prevent prohibited people from buying or even someone selling to these people. So what other laws do they want to put in place that are already not on the books? Ask them that and see where the conversation goes.

Oh and as a side note, you know what happens when you tell someone that their mission statement for their group is flawed and based on a non-existent problem? They ban you from talking to them on social media. Truly a mature way to discuss issues, but hey, I have been banned from better groups than these. Obviously, perpetuating the truth in this case is harder than perpetuating the lie.

Chris Wagoner is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran . He has been in law enforcement the last 35+ years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction, and is in charge of a large Police Academy in North Florida. In his spare time Chris is a free-lance Military Reporter and owner/founder of the Largest Military Videos Channel on YouTube “3rdID8487”.

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