Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gun Shows: The Marketplace of Choice for Criminals, Cartels, and Creeps

by Pa Rock

Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City, has released the results of a multi-state investigation into the dark world of gun shows, and, in findings that should surprise no one, sane or otherwise, the research shows that gun shows are the place to shop if you don't want to mess with all those pesky and intrusive government forms.

According to Mayor Bloomberg, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has identified gun shows at the source of more than 30% of all illegally trafficked guns in the country. Those are the guns most likely to be used in crimes - and to kill innocent people, including police officers.

New York City, longed plagued with gun violence committed with weapons that are imported into the city from the scarier parts of America, sent investigators with hidden cameras into seven gun shows across Ohio, Tennessee, and Nevada. They quickly learned how easy it is for criminals and people who are mentally ill to buy guns with no questions being asked.

"Private sellers" are those individuals who can legally peddle their wares at gun shows without doing background checks and are supposed to only make "occasional" sales, yet many essentially sell and trade weapons for a living, much of it "off the books." New York City's investigators discovered one individual who had sold 348 guns in less than a year. Many of these private sellers had large inventories ready to foist on the paranoids, sociopaths, and sportsmen perusing their wares.

The research method employed by NYC's investigators was to pose as buyers and tell the sellers that they "probably couldn't pass a background check." Even though these sellers don't do background checks thanks to America's loose gun laws, federal law still prohibits them from selling to individuals whom they suspect could not pass a background check. (So some yahoo telling a seller that he probably couldn't pass the background check should be a significant clue.)

And the results? Investigators told 30 sellers that they probably could not pass a background check. Nineteen of those thirty made the sale anyway.

Mayor Bloomberg's proposed remedy for this national sham:

"Congress should pass legislation requiring that all sales at gun shows be subject to criminal background checks - a measure that has the support of Sen. John McCain, President Obama, and 83% of gun owners. It is also time for Congress to support the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with the resources it needs to crack down on illegal sales at gun shows."

The mayor ended his remarks by trying to make nice to private gun sellers:

"The vast majority of gun buyers at gun shows are law abiding citizens. Closing the gun show loophole and increasing resources to help AFT enforce the laws will not detract from anyone's Second Amendment rights. What it will do is send the message that criminals are not welcome at gun shows."

Of course, in a capitalist economic system, the goal is sell, sell, sell - with government regulations only when they serve to increase sales. Somehow I suspect that the gun manufacturers who own the NRA will not be supportive of Mayor Bloomberg's challenge to their profits.

No comments: