The gun control industry has been calling on legislators to “close the gun show loophole” for years. They’re aggravated not to say appalled by the idea that private citizens can buy and sell firearms at [some] gun shows without government supervision (i.e. without an FBI criminal background check). The fact that gun shows account for a statistically insignificant number of firearms used in violent crime, that there’s no scientific evidence proving that the FBI check prevents violent crime, is neither here nor there. Something must be done! In New York, what the gun grabbers can’t do through the legislature they’ve done through sheer intimidation. Check this from the AP [via wsj.com]:
Two major gun show operators have agreed to a set of rules that go beyond state law to thwart illegal sales, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.
Niagara Frontier Collectors Inc. of Chautauqua County and NEACA Inc. in Saratoga County have agreed to tag guns brought to shows by private sellers to make it possible to monitor their sales and ensure that required criminal background checks are performed.
Notice the term “required criminal background checks.” Again, there is no New York state law requiring private sellers to perform an FBI background check (a.k.a., a NICS check) when selling a firearm to another individual. [NB: Eleven states require background checks for at least some gun show purchases. Click here for the list.]
By the same token, Uncle Sam does not require a NICS check for private sales. [See: second-to-last question at ATF link.] Despite numerous attempts in Congress to “close the gun show loophole,” the federal law mandating a NICS check only applies to Federal Firearms Licensees (a.k.a., licensed gun dealers).
What the Attorney General is requiring is purely based upon his whim. Rather than seeking to amend the law he intimidates a small business into imposing the restrictions that he and he alone feels are appropriate. And what small business, when faced with the choice of angering the Attorney General of the State where you do business and potentially being sued by the State wouldn’t enter into an agreement that allows you to continue to conduct your business in peace? It’s a case of too much power is vested in one branch of government.
Speaking of small business capitulation, NEACA seems happy enough to spread the AG’s disinformation via their website:
New York State law requires that a National Instant Criminal Background check must be completed prior to all firearms sales or transfers, including sales or transfers of rifles or shotguns. The sale or transfer of a firearm, rifle or shotgun at a Gun Show without first conducting a Background Check is a crime.
The Associated Press singularly fails to mention the reason why millions of Americans don’t want the State or the feds monitoring private firearms sales: fears of government registration leading to confiscation.
The show operators will post signs making clear that instant background checks are required for all sales and will make dealers available to perform them. They also will limit access doors to shows and monitor parking lots to deter sales to people trying to skirt background checks.
“Gun violence is an epidemic and my office is working with gun show operators to create simple guidelines to ensure that these deadly weapons don’t make it into the hands of felons, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill and others that could not pass a background check,” Schneiderman said.
He said his office will work with other gun show operators individually to create more oversight of the gun-purchasing process but would like to see New York become the first state in the nation with uniform, statewide procedures.
Gun rights advocates have been worrying about the possibility of “under-the-radar” gun control since The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence claimed President Obama promised them this approach. (A statement the Campaign later retracted.) The real threat is “back door” gun control, via bureaucratic arm twisting.
A member of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia who emailed me a link to the AP story called for a boycott of the New York gun shows to protest to their acquiescence to the NY AG’s demands. “Schneiderman nailed some illegal sales and used that as leverage,” he wrote. “Regardless of what some bad apples do, our rights are non-negotiable.”
We shall see.