In the wake of the McDonald ruling by the Supremes, anti-gun groups are (predictably) in a froth. Sadly for the rest of us, the McDonald ruling has left a whole lotta wiggle room regarding what is – and is not – permissible in the way of new regulations. While Messrs. Bloomberg and Daley and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns go after individual sales of guns through gun stores, sporting goods stores, and the like, the Brady Bunch seems to be focusing on the much-vaunted “gun show loophole.” They’re pressing for legislation that would require guns to be sold through an entity that holds an FFL (Federal Firearms License). Their argument: forcing sales through FFL holders will eliminate the sale of guns by private parties, and thus eliminate the transfers of guns “under the radar” of the Feds. Balderdash.

Any time you ship a gun from a dealer or manufacturer, you must go through an FFL-holder. The Brady Bunch wants to extend this to private sales and gun shows. This is, as they say, a pain in the lower posterior region. Especially because said transfers are always and inevitably between two parties who choose to obey the law.

If someone wants to violate said law, there’s not a lot anybody can do about it. Laws, like locks, are meant to keep honest people honest. Furthermore, if somebody is selling guns to someone they know to be a criminal, they are breaking the law to begin with.

Logic dictates that those that break one law in order to achieve a goal will likely break others, so it’s therefore doubtful in the extreme that forcing all gun sales to go through an FFL-holder will accomplish anything but to add expense and inconvenience to legitimate buyers and sellers lives.

Logic, sadly, is something of a foreign language to the Brady Bunch. They froth at the mouth about “straw man purchases,” believing that the FFL process will somehow put a stop to that.

Even the Scarecrow from Oz knows better.

The Brady Bunch has a far more agressive agenda at work with this effort. They don’t want to simply ban gun sales sans-FFLs. They want to ban guns altogether. Gun shows are just a stepping stone.

If you’ve been to many gun shows, you’ll already be aware that many – if not most – exhibitors already hold FFLs. It’s because they buy and sell guns for a living.

An FFL requirement would not stop so-called “straw man” purchases – where a third party makes an ostensibly legitimate firearms purchase for himself, where actually functioning as an agent for a third party who would not qualify to purchase a weapon on their own.

But even going through the FFL fandango, gun show exhibitors have no way of knowing if the buyer is really the buyer.

If you were to look at the typical evidence locker at any police department across the country, you’d see an assortment of weapons – cheap revolvers, polymer pistols, shotguns, sem–automatic rifles, and, yes, some fully-automatic machine guns. Wonder where they came from? Most of them were stolen. (An FFL won’t help there.) Some of them were purchased legitimately. (An FFL played a role.)

Exactly how will forcing private citizens to sell weapons they own through an FFL affect this equation? Answer: “It won’t.”

Again, the Brady Bunch’s goal: put an end to private gun ownership. Since they can’t do that (thanks, Supremes!), they will go after gun shows. Anything they can do to impede, inhibit, or destroy gun shows is just fine with them.

But make no mistake – the legislation they push isn’t just designed to hurt gun shows. It’s intended to make it just that much more difficult for you to own a gun.

3 Responses to Scarecrows and Gun Shows

  1. Any time you transfer a gun, you must go through an FFL-holder. This is, as they say, a pain in the lower posterior region. Especially because said transfers are always and inevitably between two parties who choose to obey the law.

    Brad, unless state law specifically requires a firearms transfer to be conducted through an FFL, an FFL does not have to be involved in the transfer. In most states you can sell a gun to your next door neighbor (or a stranger you've never met before) without getting an FFL dealer involved.

    I know here in CO FTF (Face-to-face) firearms sales are common and perfectly legal. Pretty sure it's the same down in the Lone Star state. Now certainly you can involve an FFL if you want to, and doing so could absolve you of certain liabilities, but it's not true to say that all firearms transactions have to be done through a dealer. In fact, what the Brady Bunch is pushing for is for there to be exactly such a requirement nationwide. Currently Federal law only requires an FFL be involved if it is an interstate transfer.

    Actually, I'm not sure a law like the Brady Bunch proposes (a federal law requiring all firearms sales to be done through a dealer) would even be Constitutional, which is probably why their focus is more on state laws.

    • Upon rereading my post, I was a little unclear…what they are PROPOSING is that all transfers go through FFLs. Not that it's that way now. I've also gotten bitten by the "you can only ship to a state where you have permanent residency" clause. I'm taking care of my dad in Louisiana, and had to drive back home to Texas in order to get a firearm transfered to me. I'm not really understanding why this requirement is in place.

      • Brad I think the in-state residency requirement is from the 1968 GCA. If I was a guessin' man (and I guess I am) it was probably put there because in the days before cross-referenced crime databases (which I think date to the 70's or maybe even the 80's) it would have been possible for a convicted felon in one state to travel to another state to buy a gun from a licensed dealer and not have his conviction revealed because the law enforcement officers in one state could not access the crime records from another state. Even before the Brady law went into effect many states required waiting periods and background checks for handgun purposes and the buy-in-state-of-residency requirement was probably an attempt to keep felons from getting around those laws.

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