Monday, March 28, 2016

Gun Control Baloney

I have bought and sold guns for over 30 years. I am not a dealer and can go for years without buying or selling a firearm. I have also gone to gun shows in 3 states for years. I am trying to understand the “gun show loophole” that is supposed to exist. I think politicians use this term “gun show loophole” in two different ways. The first is just a complete lie. The second is deceiving at best. So when you hear this term, know that it is associated with dishonesty. I claim there is no gun show loophole. What is referred to as a gun show loophole is in reality a private sale loophole. 98% of gun sales at a gun show are through FFL licensed dealers. They must do a background check. I would say that there may be a very low percentage of dealers that do not do checks. They take a chance in not doing these checks with a felony, losing their license, and going to prison. I don’t know too many dealers that would chance their livelihood on not doing a background check.
I’m not sure why politicians call this a “gun show loophole”. Maybe they think it sounds more insidious than private sale loophole.
Federally licensed gun sellers are required to run background checks. But not all sellers are required to be licensed. Some of those unlicensed sellers sell at gun shows.
Federal law requires that persons who are engaged in the business of dealing in firearms be licensed by the federal government.
Private sellers without a federal license don’t have to meet the background check requirement. Though this exception is often referred to as the "gun show loophole," it actually applies more broadly to unlicensed individuals, whether they are selling at a gun show or somewhere else. (Some states have implemented their own background check requirement beyond federal law.)
Experts warn that the phrase "gun show loophole" is imprecise at best. But people do buy guns without having to undergo background checks.
Several experts said the phrase "gun show loophole" isn’t the most accurate way to describe the gap in the law.
"There is a huge loophole in federal law, but it isn't for gun shows," UCLA law professor Adam Winkler said. "What is called the gun-show loophole is misnamed. It should be the ‘private sale loophole’ or the ‘background check loophole.’ ... The reason people talk about gun shows is that they are easily accessible marketplaces for people who don't want to be subject to a background check to find non-licensed gun sellers."
Gabriel Chin, a professor at UC Davis School of Law, told PolitiFact that there is a loophole in the sense that it has not been clear how many firearms one has to sell before one is required to obtain a license.
"Remember, gun shows are mainly on weekends, so there is room for someone to claim ‘this is a hobby or part of my collection’ when it is also a substantial business," Chin said.
Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, said the term "gun show loophole" is misleading if it implies that the law didn’t intend to exempt some sellers.
"The term ‘loophole’ suggests that it was a minor, unintended flaw in the design of the law, something inadvertently overlooked by lawmakers, when it was actually the very intentional result of a carefully worked-out political compromise between those who wanted background checks on all gun acquisitions and those who did not want any at all," he said.
In fact, there are a number of sources that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands, with gun thefts at the bottom of the list. One of the most common ways criminals get guns is through straw purchase sales. A straw purchase occurs when someone who may not legally acquire a firearm, or who wants to do so anonymously, has a companion buy it on their behalf. According to a 1994 ATF study on "Sources of Crime Guns in Southern California," many straw purchases are conducted in an openly "suggestive" manner where two people walk into a gun store, one selects a firearm, and then the other uses identification for the purchase and pays for the gun.
According to a survey of 100 Cook County Jail inmates by the University of Chicago Crime Lab, criminals — or at least the ones at this particular jail — primarily obtain their weapons from “personal connections” on the streets.
Approximately 70 percent of the criminals surveyed revealed that “they got their guns from family, fellow gang members or through other social connections,” reported the Chicago Tribune.
The majority of criminals surveyed were likely felons, so they wouldn’t have been permitted to legally purchase a weapon from a dealer regardless.
It bothers me that not only do politicians talk about this “loophole” as if it is fact, but the media falls right into this same pattern. Politicians should be honest, but the media has a duty to be honest. If we can’t trust the media, what is left? I’m here to say you can’t trust the media. Often their gun “research” is shoddy or non-existent. Most journalists should know that these terms are incorrect or at least imprecise, yet they go right along with the dishonesty. That sounds like a conspiracy, but I fear it is just bad reporting. The media don’t usually bother to find out the difference between terms, leave alone what gun laws are mostly already in place. It doesn’t take much research to figure out the difference between a clip and a magazine. Yet many in the media don’t really care.
The gun show loophole just doesn’t exist. The same kind of transaction can and does happen with a classified ad, but we don’t have a “classified ad loophole.” Trying to control private sales of firearms is not going to work. Those dealers that sell firearms from a “private collection” should be checked out and held to some type of standard. I don’t really know, but I don’t think that many of these type of dealers really exist either.
Gun control is nothing more than people control. It’s not really about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
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