Many people know of the “gun show loophole” that allows individuals to purchase guns without background checks or any sort of paperwork at gun shows. Currently, most states do not require any sort of background check at gun shows – and I can attest to that fact as I purchased a .243 Savage through a cash transaction of $400 plus tax this past spring. No questions asked, no paperwork filled out, and we parted ways not even knowing each other’s names.
Known as the “gun show loophole,” most states do not require background checks for firearms purchased at gun shows from private individuals — federal law only requires licensed dealers to conduct checks.
Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, federal law clearly defined private sellers as anyone who sold no more than four firearms per year. But the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act lifted that restriction and loosely defined private sellers as people who do not rely on gun sales as the principal way of obtaining their livelihood.
“Today, private parties sometimes sell large numbers of new and used firearms while claiming hobbyist status and exemption from the requirements imposed on licensed retailers,” according to Inside Gun Shows: What Goes on When Everybody Thinks Nobody’s Watching, a 2009 report from the Violence Prevention Research Program at University of California Davis. (Source)
Now, I was only purchasing a small capacity, bolt action hunting rifle but I could have just as easily walked out with a semi-automatic AR-15 and high capacity magazines – and still not have gone through any more trouble than going to the ATM and pulling out some cash. I’m also a mentally stable individual with no criminal record, but not everyone purchasing weapons through gun shows is mentally stable or without a felony record.
And then there’s the whole world of social media which makes buying a gun even easier, especially if you’re someone trying to avoid any sort of paper trail or background check. On Facebook, I belong to a number of gun groups for the purposes of keeping up with current prices, NRA talking points on assault rifles and checking out the really cool guns some people have. One of the disturbing things I’ve found is that while some of these individuals require that their sale be processed at a FFL (Federal Firearms License) dealer, many of them don’t. The upside to going through a FFL is that you’re ensuring you aren’t selling directly to a felon, and that you can also have a record of the sale should that firearm ever be involved with a crime. Here’s just a few examples of some high-capacity, semi-automatic weapons you can buy, no background check, no paperwork – and this is just from one gun group. (Click on any image for a larger view.)
Above are three semi-automatic, high velocity rifles which can accurately deliver multiple rounds out to 500 yards and beyond. In close quarters, like a school, they’re absolutely devastating. These aren’t rifles designed for hunting (although they can be used for such), these were designed for the military, for killing people. Not deer, not wild hogs, not bears – people. These are indeed the very definition of an “assault rifle.”
Below we have two high-capacity pistols, both capable of unloading 30+ rounds of 9mm or .40S&W ammo in a very short period of time. Both of which are offered for sale, with no background check or any other precaution.
The two weapons above have zero usefulness when it comes to hunting. These are “street sweepers” which are guns designed to spray a large number of bullets as fast as you can pull the trigger, especially the Tec-9 Brandon is selling.
The Intratec TEC DC-9 “assault pistol”, also known as DC-9, TEC-9, or, if manufactured after 1994, as AB-10, bears the dubious distinction of being one of the most widely used “criminal” guns in USA. It was used in several mass murder cases, as well as in unknown, but definitely large number of street fights and other violent crimes. TEC-9 became “famous” for its “evil” appearance, large magazine capacity (which offered significant firepower), and for low price. Unsurprisingly, these features made TEC-9 very popular among various marginal types. For any serious or professional shooter this gun vas (sic) of little value – it was too big and heavy to be carried comfortably, it was too unreliable when firing anything but FMJ ammunition, and the accuracy with very crude fixed sights was about marginal. (Source)
So here we have various high-capacity weapons, passed from one individual to another individual without a background check or other documentation via Facebook. On none of these offers was it noted that the buyer had to make the purchase via an FFL dealer (there’s tons of them here in the Lafayette, LA area in case you’re wondering) which means none of these sellers were really concerned about who might potentially get their hands on these weapons. This doesn’t even take into consideration the multiple shotguns, handguns and other rifles offered in just this one group. Let’s also not forget that Louisiana has one of the loosest sets of gun laws in the nation, and the highest gun death rate per capita.
“The five states with the highest per capita gun death rates in 2011 were Louisiana, Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana. Each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership. The state with the lowest gun death rate in the nation was Rhode Island, followed by Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Each of these states has strong gun violence prevention laws and has a lower rate of gun ownership.” (Source)
I’m not saying that we need to ban these weapons, although I would certainly not have a problem with requiring special licensing and training like a hunter’s safety course for ownership, but shouldn’t these sellers at least make sure that they’re not selling to a felon? If you call yourself a “responsible gun owner” and want to avoid arming criminals, I’d think that’s the least you could do.
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