Here’s a Shocker
An op-ed from the Richmond Times-Dispatch (via Instapundit):
Published: January 24, 2009
Recently, the state Crime Commission deadlocked over whether to recommend closing the so-called gun-show loophole. The issue has become a perennial at the General Assembly, which is considering the matter once again this year. Once again, legislators should vote no.
Licensed firearms dealers — those who buy and sell guns as a business — are required to conduct background checks on prospective buyers.
The “loophole” in question refers to the fact that individuals selling guns from their own private collection do not have to — either within gun-show venues, or in the parking lot, or in their own homes.
Which is no “loophole” at all, but . . .
Gun-control advocates often muddy the issue by referring to “unlicensed dealers” at gun shows, of which there are indeed many. They sell holsters, flashlights, hunting knives, T-shirts, books, gun safes — even jewelry. But an unlicensed dealer who sold guns as a business would invite felony charges under federal law.
And some have. That’s part of the BATFE’s job – and one they don’t seem to do very well.
Gun-control advocates also suggest, albeit with scant evidence, that gun shows supply a significant share of the weapons used in crime.
Federal data indicate otherwise. (My emphasis.) According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, “Firearm Use by Offenders,” only about 1 percent of guns used in crimes come from gun shows. (Again.) In fact, most crime guns — 57 percent — come from just 1 percent of licensed dealers. Federal and state law-enforcement agencies should come down on those renegade dealers like a ton of bricks.
It would appear. Another thing the BATFE is tasked with, but they’d rather pursue companies like CavArms for technical violations that were A-OK on Wednesday, but verboten on Thursday. This is another topic unto itself, but to continue:
Another study, by the FBI concerning attacks on law-enforcement officials, found that 97 percent of the offenders had procured their weapons through illegal means. (Again, my emphasis.)
Private sales among the hunters and target-shooting enthusiasts who frequent gun shows are simply not a significant source of weapons used in crimes. Gun shows, then, are not the real issue — except to those who recoil viscerally at the sight of large numbers of firearms in one place.
Referring to a “gun-show loophole” muddies the issue by implying, falsely, that individuals can sell or buy guns freely and without background checks only at gun shows. In fact, they can do so many places.
The real issue, in fact, is incidental firearms sales by private individuals — whether at gun shows or anywhere else.
Now there is an argument to be made that any such sales should be more tightly regulated, perhaps even recorded and reported to the authorities — just as home and car sales are. Over time, that would amount to de facto firearm registration. Some gun-control advocates say that is not their wish.
But given the weaknesses in the case for closing the gun-show loophole, one has to wonder.
No we don’t. Not any more.
Remaining emphasis is also mine. And there’s your QotD in bright red. Kinda shocking to read in an MSM outlet, but it is Richmond, VA.