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“A Kingston man sold a high-powered rifle to the wrong man at a gun show [according to] state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman,” reports. “Peter Tirc, 53, is among 10 people the attorney general has charged with selling weapons to someone they knew could not pass the required background checks at gun shows. Tirc, according to the attorney general’s office, sold a Remington 25.06 rifle at a gun show Aug. 27 in Saratoga. It was a sting operation. The buyer was an undercover agent. The agent told dealers he could not legally buy a gun from them because he had committed domestic violence before and thus could not pass the required background check. The dealer still sold it to the agent, the attorney general’s office is charging. Tirc faces a misdemeanor count and more court action at a later date.” In other words . . .

New York’s Attorney General sent a fake buyer (or two or three) to a gun show with the express purpose of illegally purchasing a gun. As far as we know, none of the people who agreed to sell a firearm to the faux domestic abuser had any prior history of illegal gun sales. If we assume that all Americans are innocent until proven guilty, what probable cause did the cops have to attempt to target the “dealers” and lure them into illegal behavior?

Notice the quotes around the word dealers. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the gun show 10 were professional merchants of death, given the report’s description. But it’s entirely likely that at least some of those ensnared by Schneiderman’s secret police were private citizens selling firearms privately—an activity that does not require a criminal background check. Not even in New York. Here’s a clue from the

“I am just a Vietnam vet that was selling a gun I had no use for,” said Sam Savino of North Bellmore, who was snared in the probe.

In fact, how many non-dealers at the gun show were approached by the State’s “gonna get a gotcha” gun goon didn’t sell the pretend criminal a firearm—remembering that it’s a criminal offense to attempt to purchase a firearm illegally. Also keeping in mind that we don’t know what the secret agent said.

Was he coercive? How persistent was he? Did he try to lure his marks by offering stupid amounts of cash? Did he threaten them? Did he appeal to the better nature? “My wife made up these charges against me. You know how women can be. And I really need a gun to protect myself . . .”

That’s the problem when you send a government official to manufacture criminals: they manufacture criminals. If Schneiderman’s shock troops had returned from the gun show empty-handed, well, they weren’t going to let that happen were they? These ops cost time and money and represent a huge investment of political capital.

To wit: this “gun show loophole” bust happened in August. The press release hits the net in December? Tell me it has nothing to do with the progress (or lack thereof) of Mayor Bloomberg’s Fix Gun Checks legislation.

Back to the heart of the matter: probable cause. The government justifies the use of “sting” operations at gun shows (and everywhere else) on the simple basis of expediency. THIS IS A PROBLEM! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Only it’s not true.

If gun show sales to criminals was a widespread problem, the government wouldn’t have to “trick” citizens into doing it. They could just stand by and watch it happen. And then arrest someone. Or wait until someone committed a crime, trace the sale back to a gun show seller and then arrest someone.

The idea that gun show sales to criminals isn’t a big deal rankles the pols, the police and their sycophantic supporters in the mainstream media. Gun shows rankle them. They’re trying to take guns off the street and here’s a bunch of people buying and selling firearms without any government oversight? That kind of freedom we can live without. Well, they can.

In an editorial in (Gun Checks Are Vitalthe paper pronounces “These background checks must be taken seriously, and the laws should be enforced and even bolstered to ensure they are.” Uh no. Here’s commentator John Nelson‘s take:

“Of course we see from the USDOJ Background Check & Firearm transfer report 2008 Brady Check report that of the 99 million checks for purchases from licensed sources only, since 1994.

We see a total of 1.67 million valid rejections, a 68% decrease in felons attempting to buy from a licensed source, and 58% of those rejected being felons.

We see that between 2000-2008 only 13,024 were prosecuted, or less than 1%.

We of course see how the anti gun lobby claims such effectiveness of this pathetically useless law with the hard data they can present that the 1.66 million plus who weren’t prosecuted then didn’t go and buy from an unlicensed source?

We also see how the USDOJ survey in 1997 where felons identified purchasing their weapons from 80% street buys, 12% retail stores, 2% gun shows.

Then that 68% reduction of attempted buys from licensed sources puts the street buys/theft at 95.52%, 3.64% retail stores, .64% gun shows in today’s numbers. Firearm Use by Offenders, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2001.

Amazing how ineffective that poster child of futility is and this trend is similar with ALL gun control laws.

Yet more laws will prevent criminals and terrorists from getting a firearm, ROTFLMFAO, uh yeah, and the moon is made of cheese and the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, right!

Here’s a sting story from CBS. Undercover congressional investigators using fake IDs were able to skirt mandatory background checks and purchase guns in all of the five states where they tried, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The General Accounting Office study concluded that the national background check system for purchasing guns “cannot ensure that the prospective purchaser is not a felon.”

The system checks only whether the gun buyer had a criminal history but does not require any check to see whether the name or identification being used by the buyer is real.

So explain again how the 80 mil law abiding gun owners are responsible for the massive failures of the government/BATf not enforcing existing laws, and prove that more than .64% (thats less than 1% to you math illiterates) of the felons, 95.52% of those who dont even attempt to buy from a licensed source, occur at gun shows.

Please show everyone how the BATF has changed their system so that the everyday citizen can use the NICS system when today, only licensed FFL dealers can use said system.

Get a clue, then again, progressives with an anti freedom agenda like yours are not interested in people exercising their rights, you are only concerned with taking them away!”

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  1. Most Government Sting Entrapment Programs manufacture criminals. I have an Attorney friend who states this in the War On Drugs all the time. The Agents tend to couch a lot of their baiting statements and actions in with other supporting statements and actions to make you support their programs for you to commit a crime, even though they are commiting all sorts of felonies on a 24/7 basis.

  2. Can someone explain this paragraph to me: “We of course see how the anti gun lobby claims such effectiveness of this pathetically useless law with the hard data they can present that the 1.66 million plus who weren’t prosecuted then didn’t go and buy from an unlicensed source?”

  3. It’s easier for them to police the pre-crimes than to actually hand out proper punishment for actual crimes. The same boasting DA will cut deals to let violent criminals off the hook with a light sentence. Since judges and scumbag attorneys are so good at manipulating the system they turn their attention to gun sales. Lot’s of What Ifs justify their actions.
    The ban on firearm ownership by criminals is an interesting one. No one would dispute a person with a conviction for violent actions shouldn’t be buying guns (and it should be the criminals responsibility if he does) but how about someone who pulled a little credit card fraud? Or something else that has nothing to do with physically hurting someone?

    Putting responsibility on sellers to catch criminals committing another crime isn’t right. Jared Loughner in Arizona SHOULD have been banned from buying guns because of the domestic violence and mental issues but no dice. Are car salesmen held liable because a car the sold hits’ someone and kills them and the driver should have lost his license?

    I just think it’s easier to go after a different group of people and then have news conferences to scare all the rest.

  4. If the sellers were dealers, then the agents committed an offence by giving false information. Part 6 doesn’t specify that you have to give false information to cover up a bad act, just simply that you give false information.

    TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 44 > § 922
    “(6) for any person in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of any firearm or ammunition from a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, knowingly to make any false or fictitious oral or written statement or to furnish or exhibit any false, fictitious, or misrepresented identification, intended or likely to deceive such importer, manufacturer, dealer, or collector with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of such firearm or ammunition under the provisions of this chapter;”

    “(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person—………..domestic violence……..”

    Suppose seller didn’t believe the whole “I’m not allowed to buy firearms” bit

  5. I can see how raising this question might be heretical, but isn’t the “gun show loophole” a reasonable potential loophole for people how really ought not have guns?

    I recognize that “felons identified purchasing their weapons from 80% street buys, 12% retail stores, 2% gun shows” and certainly favor the freedom to trade between private parties. However, I have to wonder in good faith why it wouldn’t be such a loop hole? QOTD material?

  6. Blah, blah, blah. You can talk all night long, you can put all the focus on the undercover guys, but the fact is gun sellers sold guns to people they shouldn’t have.“As far as we know, none of the people who agreed to sell a firearm to the faux domestic abuser had any prior history of illegal gun sales. “That is a transparent attempt to mislead and you know it. As true as it is that we don’t know, the fact is just like the “faithful” husband who gets caught cheating and swears it was the first time, it rarely is. I’d say it’s safe to assume the guys who get caught up in these stings are guys who do it week in and week out.In your best attempt at obfuscation and misdirection, not that you need to be very slick with your audience, you mentioned that perhaps the lying undercover agents had to visit several honest joes who turned them down before they found one who would do it. That’s a good point, if they had to try say, fifty guys to find one, but I seriously doubt that was the case. My guess is they had to try three or seven and then found a sucker, in which case the point is made.

    • Your guess is just as factual as any other speculation. The article stated no such and good politics would almost demand that if they only went to a few “dealers” and got illegal results that they would SAY as much. If they list how many people they tried versus how many were complicit in the illegal and coercive action you may have some basis.

      As is, I’m sure they have a list of who they tried and how many declined and how many accepted. The numbers aren’t listed in the article. Why? Because they VERY LIKELY don’t support the idea that most people selling weapons are unscrupulous idiots.

      The truth remains unknown so neither of us is right beyond a shadow of a doubt. But the game of politics is played by stacking facts in your favor. If the facts are readily available but unlisted they likely do not prove the case you are putting forward. Doesn’t take someone extremely left or right wing to see that.

    • Believe it or not, there are some of us who recoil from the “blah blah blah” theory of legal rights.

      In this country, citizens enjoy the presumption of innocence. Under our system of government, we are innocent until proven guilty. This precept prevents all kinds of nasty miscarriages of justice and government interventions, up to and including torture.

      Although you “feel” that illegal firearms sales at gun shows are regular occurrence, or at least potentially a regular occurrence, you have no hard evidence to support your position (a regular occurrence IMHO). The existing studies on this matter clearly show that guns purchased at gun shows account for a small percentage of guns used in criminal activity. They are statistically insignificant. Yup: round it to zero. In any case . . .

      There’s a word for government agents who lure people into illegal activities: entrapment. I don’t know it works in Italy, but in the USA entrapment is illegal. I’ll leave it to one of our legal eagles to explain how sting operations skirt entrapment. But I am steadfastly against any law enforcement technique that encourages illegal activity. Period.

    • More opinions and less facts, salted with a few asinine assumptions. Safe to say, my guess, seriously doubt, these are mikeb302000isms. Just remember, these operations can be used in a number of different ways, some you might not approve of.

    • Mike:

      The gun control lobby likes to call this the “Gun Show Exemption.” That is intentionally misleading to sway public opinion to shut down these events. It’s not a gun show exemption, it’s a private sale exemption and they are not limited to gun shows. A licensed dealer must conduct a background check whether he sells in a retail business, a show, from his home or out of the trunk of his car. If you think that private sales should have background checks then be honest about instead of smearing retailers who comply with the regulations when they exhibit at these shows.

      • please let’s not go back to the old old argument of whether we should call it the “gun show loophole” or the “private sale loophole.” Can we just get on with the discussion? You guys spent years diverting the argument to the poor choice of words which our side used when calling it the “gun show loophole.” We’re beyond that now.

        Robert is really into the presumption of innocense. Great so am I. But when you hide behind that noble principle and presume the guy never ever sold a gun to a disqualified person before, what you’re doing is an ecxample of intellectual dishonesty. You can do better than that.

        Like I said, your best argument is the percentages are low. When you start saying they’re all innocent, no one can possible believe you except your friends who have a stake in the argument.

        • Under the law, all citizens are innocent of all crimes until proven guilty. There are limits on how the state may prove guilt. One of those limits is that the state can not create/encourage/inspire a criminal act. Sting operations make the state a co-conspirator. Allowing the technique is to allow the state to act illegally.

          If you read my most recent death watch, you’ll see that the ATF approached U.S. gun dealers and told them to expect illegal gun purchases and to allow them to proceed. In only one case (that I know of) did the dealer get official immunity from prosecution for the result. In other words, the federal government commissioned illegal gun sales—which went AWOL. Are these the people you want to trust to know whom to target in their sting operations?

          As I said before, the concept itself is fundamentally flawed. And as the problem—the private sale loophole—is relatively innocuous, what possible justification does NY have in trampling on Americans’ legal right to a presumption of innocence?

        • Well, guess what, Robert, you’re not the State. You’re just a gun blogger talking about a guy who got caught selling a gun to someone who professed to be disqualified. And you, the gun blogger, are talking about innocence and proof of guilt. That’s what I’m calling bullshit.

          In most cases when a guy does a dirty sale like that it was not his first time. Can we not agree on that?

        • No we cannot agree about that. And even if we did, it wouldn’t matter. In the USA (but perhaps not Italy), a man is innocent until proven guilty. It is illegal for the police to search or seize a person (or their property) under an assumption of guilt.

          Please explain how my position is inconsistent with my gun blogging.

        • The inconsistency is that when it suits your position all of a sudden you speak as if you’re the police or the government or the State. You’re not. There’s no violation to anything for you to admit that a guy who gets caught selling a gun illegally perhaps or probably has done so before.

          Is your gun-defense stance that inflexible?

        • Mike:

          People like you employ ” The Gun Show Loophole” meme with the sole purpose of shutting down guns shows and not the regulation of private sales. You use this meme to influence public opinion to think that all guns purchased at shows are exempt from background checks. I have met many people who think the gun show loophole allows sellers to unload fully automatic weapons to anybody at these events and I cannot convince them to the contrary even after fellow gun owners explain to them that every gun they have purchased at a show required Federal and State paperwork to complete the sale. The reality is different. Far more private sales occur on newspaper ads, word or mouth or Craigslist than at gun shows.

          Your attempt to divert attention from your misuse of language fails again. Your use of the gun show loophole big lie make work on the ignorant but it doesn’t resonate with a majority of the public.

  7. The reason that publicity-seeking prosecutors commit “stings” is because they’re good theater, and get lots of coverage from the sycophants in the media. On the other hand, prosecuting real criminals is hard work and very unrewarding.

  8. How can it have been Illegal just because the buyer said he has a domestic. According to the article, the buyers are undercover cops and they are not really illegaly trying to buy. They may have lied to seller but in reality they are legal to buy are they not? If so, then whats the problem with selling them a gun. (legal buyer-legal seller)

    • because part D states “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person”…….is prohibited from receiving a firearm. You only have to believe that a person is barred. Simple defense here is that the seller didn’t believe the purchaser was barred, regardless of the purchasers’ statements.

      Meanwhile, why are state guys trying to enforce federal laws. Doesn’t DOJ have a problem with that RE: immigration?


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