Terrorists? They are already covered by harsh federal law. An act of terrorism is a crime. Planning an act of terrorism is a crime. So, understand that acquisition of a gun or ammunition by anybody intended for criminal purposes is a federal felony.
Straw sales? Covered. It is a felony for anyone who is not a prohibited person to acquire a gun or ammunition for anybody in the prohibited category. All of this covers any gun-cheap gun, long gun, concealable gun or even a so-called "assault weapon."
The best data available from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that only 0.7 percent of criminals obtained their firearms from gun shows. And those criminals violated the law: They committed serious crimes for which they could spend years in jail.
Understand the closing of the so-called "gun show loophole" for what it means. It would make it a criminal act for peaceable, law-abiding citizens to buy or sell guns freely as they do today. Legislation on the so-called "gun show loophole" would make it a crime for ordinary Americans to arrange the sale of a firearm outside the show. "Can't afford it now? See you next week at your home." A crime. They seek to put you and your guns into a federal database-for every firearm transferred in America, starting with gun shows.
What is the real point of closing the so-called "gun show loophole"? If it is to prohibit criminals from obtaining firearms, all the tools are already there. Bottom line, if it's illegal under federal law, it's illegal at a gun show.
How about enforcing the law? According to the mainstream media, one can simply walk into any one of the estimated 5,000 gun shows held annually in the United States and purchase machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers, no questions asked, cash and carry. At no place in the United States is such conduct legal. Federal and state laws regarding firearms apply to every corner of the nation-including gun shows.
So, what do those who would end gun shows really want for you and me? A permanent record of every gun owner and firearm in the United States on a federal computer. It's gun shows today, but all private transfers between law-abiding citizens are the objective.
The Bradys proved their goal. In 1989, the Roberti-Roos Act passed, the so-called "assault-weapon ban," in California. Gun owners in that state – where all sales must be registered and run through FFLs – were sent notices to register their affected guns or face fines or prison. The state imposed a deadline for the registration of "assault weapons." There was confusion regarding the registration. Guns not covered by the ban were registered, and others who had guns that should have been registered didn't get the word or were initially afraid to register their guns. When owners affected by the ban asked the state if they could register the guns after the deadline, California said yes.
Many did just that. Not satisfied, the Bradys sued the state and forced California to tell everyone who registered a gun after the deadline to get the gun out of the state or it would be confiscated. Anti-gunners used the courts to force the confiscation of guns from citizens who registered their guns and tried in good faith to comply with the law.
The calls to end the traditional American gun show and close the non-existent "gun show loophole" infringe on both the free speech and Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. These infringements have far-reaching effects.
The next time I see my friend Danny I'm going to give him a copy of this essay. I hope others will copy it, too, and pass it on to people they might know among that "BUT..." class of gun owners, or to non-gun owners so they can better understand the truth about gun shows. – Brian C. Sheetz and James O.E. Norell contributed to this story