Gun show loophole myth

‘Gun Show Loophole’ Put To The Test: Can You Purchase A Gun Without A Background Check At A Gun Show?

We have all heard the scary stories from President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton about the dangers of the seemingly prevalent “gun show loopholes” that allow criminals to purchase guns without a background check.

According to the rhetoric of these Democratic figureheads, just about anyone can easily walk into a gun show and purchase a weapon without any sort of background check. This “gun show loophole” concern is a cornerstone of the Democratic party’s claims that more must be done to restrict access to dangerous weapons such as assault rifles or semi-automatic weapons. However, are these “gun show loopholes” as widespread as the candidates claim? One conservative pundit and comedian, Steven Crowder, decided to put the “gun show loophole” to the test and the results are telling.

The Blaze reports that conservative comedian Steven Crowder recently attempted to purchase weapons from gun shows, pawn shops, and gun stores without a background check to put the “gun show loophole” to the test. In the video, Crowder goes undercover with a hidden camera to see if any gun show sellers would allow him to purchase a weapon without a background check. The results showcase exactly how stringent regulations are surrounding gun ownership and exactly what steps are needed to purchase guns just about anywhere, including gun shows.

The video was the result of Crowder listening to a number of different Democratic politicians using the “gun show loophole” myth to falsely claim that criminals could easily obtain weapons from gun shows due to the fact that unlicensed dealers could potentially sell weapons without background checks at gun shows. President Obama has called for swift action in “closing the gun show loophole” blaming the high rate of gun violence in Chicago on lax gun regulations in Indiana. Obama notes that gang members and criminals could simply hop over the border into Indiana and purchase a weapon and bring it back to Chicago, where guns are outlawed. Obama said that the country must stand up to the “gun lobby’s lies” and take measures towards “common sense” gun law reform.

“So all of us need to demand a Congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby’s lies.”

Interestingly, comments made by Obama that Chicago felons go to gun shows in Indiana to purchase weapons may be a lie, along with his statements that felons go to the internet to purchase weapons without a background check. Obama notes that gun sellers online operate differently than licensed gun shops, claiming that “a violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked.”

“The problem is some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules. A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the Internet with no background check, no questions asked. A recent study found that about one in 30 people looking to buy guns on one website had criminal records — one out of 30 had a criminal record. We’re talking about individuals convicted of serious crimes — aggravated assault, domestic violence, robbery, illegal gun possession. People with lengthy criminal histories buying deadly weapons all too easily. And this was just one website within the span of a few months.”

In fact, Obama’s statement that guns can be purchased online without a background check is completely false. It is already 100 percent illegal to sell a gun online to a felon or anyone who cannot pass a background check. In fact, according to Laws.com, regulations surrounding internet gun sales are even stricter than those for purchases made in person.

“There are federal guidelines in place allowing for the sale of guns online. They stipulate that guns can only be transferred through a licensed dealer, a dealer holding a Federal Firearms License. So, if you want to buy a gun, you have to clear it through a local gun shop dealer and have them fax a copy of their license to the seller. With these kinds of guidelines, your local dealer will run the required background check on you and if everything checks out, follow through with the purchase.”

Guns are not allowed for sale on eBay or auction websites, and all weapons sold via an online platform must be shipped to a licensed gun dealer for processing. Guns cannot be shipped to a purchaser’s home. Therefore, when the individual goes to pick up their weapon, they must enter a licensed gun dealing establishment with a Federal Firearms License, which means a background check is performed before the weapon is handed over. The only exception to this rule is for in-state gun sales from a hobbyist seller in which case the gun could not be shipped out of the state and the hobbyist must not be in the business of selling guns but rather selling from a personal collection. With a “collection” hobbyist sell, should any red flags appear in the transaction, the exchange would be illegal.

As the video by Crowder shows, it is not as easy as one would believe due to current gun show sale rhetoric to walk into a gun show and make a weapon purchase. In fact, most gun dealers seem overly leery of anyone trying to make a purchase from a state that has strict gun laws. For example, all of the gun show sellers noted that they would not sell a gun to an Illinois resident without a background check for fear of imprisonment.

In fact, the Washington Times notes that the statistics often used by gun control advocates that “40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check” are not accurate, as the vast majority of that 40 percent got weapons from family members or friends, a transaction that no amount of regulation would stop. Of the 40 percent, 29 percent revealed that their weapon came from family or friends. This leaves just 11 percent of people who purchased their weapon from people they did not know. Only 4 percent of these individuals purchased their weapon at a gun show, therefore, is the “gun show loophole” really causing rampant gun sales to individuals without performing background checks? It doesn’t appear so, according to the statistics or actively standing federal laws regarding transfer of weapons between individuals.

On the contrary, gun control advocates note that even just the 4 percent gun sales to individuals without background checks is too much and would be a step in the right direction as all gun purchases should be required to follow the background check rules. What do you think about Crowder’s “gun show loophole” video? Did you know how statistically rare it is for a felon to purchase an unlicensed weapon from a gun show, or did you believe the “gun show loophole” myth? What do you think about the idea of stricter gun laws? Do you think that focusing on the rare occurrence of unlicensed gun sales will do anything to curb gun violence?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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