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Gun show loophole

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Gun show loophole

Private seller holding a rifle at a gun show

Gun show loophole, gun law loophole, Brady law loophole (or Brady bill loophole), private sale loophole, or private sale exemption is a political term in the United States referring to sales of firearms by private sellers, including those done at gun shows, dubbed the "secondary market".[1] The term refers to a perceived gap in the law regarding the sale or transfer of firearms between private citizens.[2] As of September 2015, 18 states and Washington, D.C. require background checks for some or all private firearm sales.[3]

Under federal law, private-party sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers, record the sale, or ask for identification. Federal law prohibits private individuals from selling a firearm to a resident of another state, or anyone they have reason to believe is prohibited from owning a firearm.[4] This requirement is in contrast to sales by gun stores and other Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders who are required to record all sales and perform background checks on almost all buyers, regardless of the venue of sale.

A late 20th century report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) commissioned by then-president Bill Clinton stated that transactions and sales of firearms by private U.S. citizens contribute to illegal activities. Since the mid-1990s, gun control advocates have voiced concern over the perceived loophole in legislation, and campaigned to require background checks and recordkeeping for all gun sales. Contrarily, gun rights advocates have stated the laws function as intended, and no loophole exists. They have contended that required background checks and recordkeeping for private sales of firearms endanger Second Amendment rights, and exceed the government’s authority, regardless of the venue.


  • Provenance 1
  • History 2
  • Government studies and positions 3
    • Executive branch 3.1
  • Notable Opinions 4
  • Contributing Events 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9


Sometimes referred to as the Brady bill loophole,[5] the Brady law loophole,[6] the gun law loophole,[7] or the private sale loophole,[8][9][10] the term refers to laws allowing for legal sales and transfers of firearms without background checks between unlicensed private parties. Private-party sellers are not legally required by federal law to: ask for identification, complete any forms, or keep any sales records. In addition to federal legislation, firearm laws vary by state.

Federal "Gun show loophole" bills were introduced in seven consecutive Congresses: two in 2001,[11][12] two in 2004,[13][14] one in 2005,[15] one in 2007,[16] two in 2009,[17][18] two in 2011,[19][20] and one in 2013.[21] Specifically, seven gun show loophole bills were introduced in the U.S. House and four in the Senate between 2001 and 2013. None passed. In May 2015 Carolyn Maloney introduced H.R.2380, also referred to as the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015. As of June 26 it has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.[22][23]

As of September 2015, 18 states and Washington D.C. have background check requirements beyond federal law. Eight states require universal background checks at the point of sale for all transfers, including purchases from unlicensed sellers. Maryland and Pennsylvania laws in this regard are limited to handguns. Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey require any firearm purchaser to obtain a permit. Four more states (Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and North Carolina) do the same, but only for handguns. Illinois requires background checks at gun shows. Nevada allows but does not require unlicensed sellers to do background checks on buyers. A majority of these jurisdictions require unlicensed sellers to keep records of firearm sales.[24]


In 1968, Congress passed the Gun Control Act (GCA), under which modern firearm commerce operates. The GCA mandated Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) for those "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, but not for private individuals who sold firearms infrequently.[25] Under the Gun Control Act, firearm dealers were prohibited from doing business anywhere except the address listed on their Federal Firearms License. It also mandated that licensed firearm dealers maintain records of firearms sales.[25] An unlicensed person is prohibited by federal law from transferring, selling, trading, giving, transporting, or delivering a firearm to any other unlicensed person only if they know or have reasonable cause to believe the buyer does not reside in the same State or is prohibited by law from purchasing or possessing firearms.[26][27]

In 1986, Congress passed the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), which relaxed certain controls in the Gun Control Act and permitted licensed firearm dealers to conduct business at gun shows.[nb 1] Specifically, FOPA made it legal for FFL holders to make private sales, provided the firearm was transferred to the licensee's personal collection at least one year prior to the sale. Hence, when a personal firearm is sold by an FFL holder, no background check or Form 4473 is required by federal law. According to the ATF, FFL holders are required to keep a record of such sales in a bound book.[30][31] The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) said the stated purpose of FOPA was to ensure the GCA did not "place any undue or unnecessary federal restrictions or burdens on law abiding citizens, but it opened many loopholes through which illegal gun traffickers can slip."[32][33][nb 2] Efforts to reverse a key feature of FOPA by requiring criminal background checks and purchase records on private sales at gun shows were unsuccessful.[35][36]

In 1993, Congress enacted the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, amending the Gun Control Act of 1968. "The Brady Law" instituted federal background checks on all firearm purchasers who buy from federally licensed dealers (FFL). This law had no provisions for private firearms transactions or sales. The Brady Law originally imposed an interim measure, requiring a waiting period of 5 days before a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer may sell, deliver, or transfer a handgun to an unlicensed individual. The waiting period applied only in states without an alternate system that was deemed acceptable of conducting background checks on handgun purchasers. Personal transfers and sales between unlicensed Americans could also still be subject to other federal, state, and local restrictions. These interim provisions ceased to apply on November 30, 1998.[37]

Government studies and positions

Analyzing data from a report released in 1997 by the National Institute of Justice, fewer than 2% of convicted criminals bought their firearm at a flea market or gun show. About 12% purchased their firearm from a retail store or pawnshop, and 80% bought from family, friends, or an illegal source.[38]

According to a 1999 report by the ATF, legal private party transactions contribute to illegal activities, such as arms trafficking, purchases of firearms by prohibited buyers, and straw purchases.[39] Anyone selling a firearm is legally prohibited from selling it to anyone the seller knows or has reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from owning a firearm. Only an FFL holder may transfer a firearm to someone that does not reside in the state in which the seller resides.[32][40][41]

The January 1999 report said that more than 4,000 gun shows are held in the U.S. annually.[32]:1 Also, between 50 and 75 percent of gun show vendors hold a Federal Firearms License, and the "majority of vendors who attend shows sell firearms, associated accessories, and other paraphernalia."[32]:4 The report concluded that although most sellers at gun shows are upstanding people, a few corrupt sellers could move a large quantity of firearms into high-risk hands.[32]:17 They stated that there were gaps in current law and recommended "extending the Brady Law to 'close the gun show loophole.'"[33]

In 2009 the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report citing that many firearms trafficked to Mexico may be purchased through these types of private transactions, by individuals who may want to avoid background checks and records of their firearms purchases.[42][nb 3] Proposals put forth by United States Attorneys, which were never enacted, include:[32]:17

  • Allowing only FFL holders to sell guns at gun shows, so a background check and a firearms transaction record accompany every transaction
  • Strengthening the definition of "engaged in the business" by defining the terms with more precision, narrowing the exception for "hobbyists," and lowering the intent requirement
  • Limiting the number of individual private sales to a specified number per year
  • Requiring persons who sell guns in the secondary market to comply with the record-keeping requirements applicable to Federal Firearms License holders
  • Requiring all transfers in the secondary market to go through a Federal Firearms License holder
  • Establishing procedures for the orderly liquidation of inventory belonging to FFL holders who surrender their license
  • Requiring registration of non-licensed persons who sell guns
  • Increasing the punishment for transferring a firearm without a background check, as required by the Brady Act
  • Requiring gun show promoters to be licensed, maintaining an inventory of all the firearms that are sold by FFL holders and non-licensed sellers at gun shows
  • Requiring one or more ATF agents be present at every gun show
  • Insulating unlicensed vendors from criminal liability if they agree to have purchasers complete a firearms transaction form

Executive branch

On November 6, 1998, U.S. President Bill Clinton issued a memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General expressing concern about sellers at gun shows not being required to run background checks on potential buyers.[44] He called this absence a "loophole" and said that it made gun shows prime targets for criminals and gun traffickers. He requested recommendations on what actions the administration should take, including legislation.[32][44]

During his campaign and presidency, President

  • City of New York (October 2009). "Gun Show Undercover" (PDF). 
  • Cooper, Michael; Schmidt, Michael S.; Luo, Michael (April 10, 2013). "Loopholes in Gun Laws Allow Buyers to Skirt Checks". New York Times. 
  • Dinan, Stephen (December 17, 2012). "Gun bills face tough sailing on Capitol Hill". Washington Times. 
  • Freedman, Dan (November 2, 2013). "How the NRA became ATF's biggest enemy". 
  • Janofsky, Michael (November 15, 2000). "Both Sides See Momentum in Congress for Gun Control". New York Times. 
  • Kessler, Glenn (January 21, 2013). "The stale claim that 40 percent of gun sales lack background checks". Washington Post (blog). 
  • Los Angeles Times editorial board (April 23, 2007). "Close the gun control loophole". Los Angeles Times. 
  • Patrick, Brian Anse (2010). Rise of the Anti-media: Informing America's Concealed Weapon Carry Movement. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 65. , thinks "gun show loophole" is a euphemistic label for legislative proposals as part of an "overall disarmament goal." University of Toledo at the communication - Patrick, a professor of  

Further reading

  1. ^ Wintemute, Garen. "Background checks for firearm transfers" (PDF). Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Hale, Steven (January 13, 2013). "Gun shows, Internet keep weapons flowing around background checks". Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Universal Background Checks & the "Private" Sale Loophole Policy Summary – Summary of State Law", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, September 10, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
  4. ^ "Top 10 Frequently Asked Firearms Questions and Answers", Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Retrieved August 1, 2015.
  5. ^ Cole, Richard (December 20, 1993). "Brady bill loophole removes waiting: Private gun-owners can sell their guns to anyone". The News (Boca Raton, Florida). Associated Press. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ Pianin, Eric; Eilperin, Juliet (June 18, 1999). "House Votes to Weaken Senate Gun Show Checks". Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  7. ^ Cole, Richard (December 26, 1993). "Gun Law Loophole Allows Immediate Delivery, No Background Checks : Arms: Private owners can sell their weapons legally anytime, to anyone. Shows are a common sales venue.". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved February 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ Fisher, Kristin (December 15, 2011). "Illegal Internet Gun Sales are Soaring in Virginia". WUSA9. Retrieved February 7, 2015. These Internet sales really are the new gun shows. 
  9. ^ Shapiro, Eliza (November 29, 2012). "Gun-Control Lobby Targets Obama, Demands Reform". Daily Beast. 
  10. ^ More private sale loophole sources:
    • Kirkham, Chris (December 21, 2012). "Private Gun Sale Loophole Creates Invisible Firearms Market, Prompts Calls For Reform". The Huffington Post. 
    • "Universal Background Checks & the Private Sale Loophole Policy Summary". Smart Gun Laws. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. August 21, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
    • Taylor, Marisa (December 22, 2014). "Gun law loophole could have provided Brinsley's murder weapon, say experts". Al Jazeera America. Through something known as the private sale loophole, he could have purchased the firearm in the private market at a gun show or out of someone's trunk. 
    • Dobbs, Taylor (January 16, 2015). "Gun Rights Group Slams Proposed Legislation". Vermont Public Radio. 
  11. ^ H.R. 2377
  12. ^ S. 890
  13. ^ H.R. 3832
  14. ^ S. 1807
  15. ^ H.R. 3540
  16. ^ H.R. 96
  17. ^ H.R. 2324
  18. ^ S. 843
  19. ^ H.R. 591
  20. ^ S. 35
  21. ^ H.R. 141
  22. ^ Wheeler, Lydia (May 19, 2015). "Bill would require background checks for private sales at gun shows". The Hill. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "H.R.2380 - Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2015". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 8 September 2015. 
  24. ^ "Universal Background Checks & the Private Sale Loophole Policy Summary". Smart Gun Laws. Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. August 21, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b Wintemute, Garen J.; Braga, Anthony A.; Kennedy, David M. (August 5, 2010). "Private-Party Gun Sales, Regulation, and Public Safety". The New England Journal of Medicine (Massachusetts Medical Society) 363 (6): 508–511.  
  26. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations". Legal Information Institute, Cornell University School of Law. U.S. Federal Register. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "18 U.S.C. 922". Legal Information Institute, Cornell University School of Law. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Masters, Jonathan (July 15, 2013). "U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons". Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  29. ^ Steele, Cameron (February 15, 2013). "Sheriff Bailey, Chief Monroe: Close gun show loophole". Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Firearms - Frequently Asked Questions - Records Required (Licensees) - ATF". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  31. ^ "FFL Newsletter" (PDF). Federal Firearms Licensee Information Service. February 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  32. ^ a b c d e f g  
  33. ^ a b "History of Federal Firearms Laws in the United States Appendix C". Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  34. ^ a b Cox, Chris W. (January 21, 2010). "The War on Gun Shows". National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  35. ^ Olinger, David (February 13, 2000). "Dealers live for gun shows". Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  36. ^ Baum, Dan (June 8, 2000). "What I saw at the gun show". Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  37. ^ "ATF: Brady Law". Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). 2015. Archived from the original on September 26, 2014. 
  38. ^ Harlow, Caroline Wolf (November 2001). "Firearm Use by Offenders" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Gun Shows:Brady checks and crime gun traces" (PDF). The department of justice & The department of treasury. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ "Following the Gun: Enforcing Federal Laws Against Firearms Traffickers" (PDF). Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). June 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 31, 2003. 
  43. ^ "Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Arms Trafficking to Mexico Face Planning and Coordination Challenges" (PDF). United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). June 2009. GAO-09-709. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  44. ^ a b Clinton, William J. (November 6, 1998). "Memorandum on Preventing Firearms Sales to Prohibited Purchasers" (PDF). 
  45. ^ Duggan, Paul (March 16, 2000). "Gun-Friendly Governor". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  46. ^ Baum, Dan. "Bush & Guns: The art of the double deal". Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  47. ^ Yardley, Jim (August 7, 2000). "THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE GUN ISSUE; Bush Stand Is Used to Turn Election Into a Showdown". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 September 2015. 
  48. ^ "The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007". Bureau of Justice. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  49. ^ "Report to the President on issues raised by the Virginia Tech tragedy" (PDF). Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  50. ^ Spetalnick, Matt; Mason, Jeff (January 16, 2013). "Obama's sweeping gun control agenda: Assault weapons ban, mandatory background checks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  51. ^ "Now Is the Time: The President's Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence" (PDF). Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  52. ^ Halloran, Liz. "Even Post-Sandy Hook, Politics Suggest Prospects Dim For Obama's Gun Plan". National Public Radio. Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  53. ^ Martinez, Michael (January 28, 2013). Universal background check:' What does it mean?"'". CNN US. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  54. ^ "Gun Shows in America – Tupperware® Parties for Criminals". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  55. ^ "Gun Shows in America Tupperware® Parties for Criminals". VPC. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  56. ^ "Gun Shows in America Tupperware® Parties for Criminals". VPC. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  57. ^ "Closing the Gun Show Loophole Principles for Effective Legislation". VPC. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  58. ^ a b Wintemute, Garen J. (2013). "Comprehensive Background Checks for Firearm Sales: Evidence from Gun Shows". In Webster, Daniel W.; Vernick, Jon S. Reducing Gun Violence in America.  
  59. ^ Halloran, Liz (January 30, 2013). "LaPierre Fights To Stop The 'Nightmare' Of Background Checks". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  60. ^ LaPierre, Wayne (May 27, 1999). "Statement of Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, National Rifle Association". (Testimony). Washington, D.C. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  61. ^ Kopel, Dave (July 16, 1999). "Gun Shows Under Attack". National Rifle Association of American Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  62. ^ Kopel, David (January 10, 2000). "The Facts about Gun Shows". Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  63. ^ DeConde, Alexander (2003). "School Shootings and Gun Shows". Gun Violence in America: The Struggle for Control. Northeastern University. p. 277.  
  64. ^ Johnson, Nicholas J. (January 13, 2009). "Imagining Gun Control in America: Understanding the Remainder Problem". pp. 837–891. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  65. ^ Vice, Daniel R.; Long, Robyn; Eftekhari, Elika (January 2010). "President Obama's First Year: Failed Leadership, Lost Lives" (PDF). Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  66. ^ Sherfinski, David (January 31, 2013). "NRA head wary on background checks, wants better instant check system". Washington Times. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  67. ^ Plumer, Brad (January 16, 2013). "Obama wants universal background checks for gun buyers. Is that feasible?". Retrieved 14 September 2015. 
  68. ^ Keefe, Mark A. (October 1, 2009). "The Truth About Gun Shows". National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved January 29, 2015. 
  69. ^ "The debate on gun policies in U.S. and midwest newspapers".  
  70. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures (June 1, 2000). "Colorado After Columbine The Gun Debate.". The Free Library by Farlex.  
  71. ^ "No Questions Asked: Background Checks, Gun Shows, and Crime" (PDF).  
  72. ^ DuBose, Ben (February 1, 2008). "Senators aim to close gun-show loophole". LA Times. Retrieved 15 September 2015. 
  73. ^ "One year after tragedy, debate rages over solutions". USA Today. Associated Press. April 12, 2008. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  74. ^ Alfano, Sean (April 19, 2007). "Va. Tech Killer Bought 2nd Gun Online". CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  75. ^ Urbina, Ian (May 1, 2007). "Virginia Ends a Loophole in Gun Laws". New York Times. Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  76. ^ Halliwell, Naria (April 9, 2009). "Easy Access: $5,000 and One Hour Buys 10 Guns". ABC News. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  77. ^ Ripley, Amanda (April 15, 2008). "Ignoring Virginia Tech". Time. Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  78. ^ Urbina, Ian (May 1, 2007). "Virginia Ends a Loophole in Gun Laws". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  79. ^ Kaine, Tim. "Tim Kaine: Are we ready to reduce gun violence?". Retrieved 6 March 2015. 
  80. ^ Burns, Dan (January 14, 2013). "Aurora shooting victim's mother grieves with Newtown families". Reuters. Retrieved February 2, 2015. 
  81. ^ Davis, Stephen; Polcyn, Bryan (November 7, 2013). "Guns for sale: No background check required". Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  82. ^ Fuchs, Erin (December 19, 2012). "There's A Gaping Loophole In US Gun Laws". Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  83. ^ Kesling, Ben (December 24, 2012). "Fear of New Restrictions Drives Crowds to Gun Shows". Wall Street Journal. Contributions to article by Jess Bravin. (Dow Jones & Company). Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  84. ^ Keene, David (October 1, 2012). "It's Impossible To Legislate Against Evil Or Madness". Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  85. ^ Ramde, Dinesh; Bauer, Scott (October 22, 2012). "Wis. shooting brings call for new law on guns". Seattle Times. 
  86. ^ Office of the State's Attorney, Judicial District of Danbury (November 25, 2013). "Sandy Hook Final Report" (PDF). 
  87. ^ Childress, Sarah (March 28, 2013). "What Police Found in Adam Lanza's Home". PBS. 


  1. ^ According to the Council on Foreign Relations and a news report posted on the National Center for Policy Analysis' website, gun control advocates maintain that the gun show loophole appeared and was codified in FOPA.[28][29]
  2. ^ The National Rifle Association (NRA) says that the purpose of FOPA was to reduce burdens on gun dealers and record-keeping on gun owners. Chris W. Cox, chief lobbyist for the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said: "To be sure, it's not a 'loophole,' because FOPA made clear no license is required to make occasional sales, exchanges or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby. What some refer to as a 'loophole' is actually federal law."[34]
  3. ^ A report released in 2009 discussed the role that gun shows play in trafficking to Mexico.[43]


See also

After the July 2012 Aurora shooting in Colorado,[80] the October 2012 Azana Spa shootings in Wisconsin,[81][82] and the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, state and local debates regarding the gun show loophole resumed.[83] After the Aurora shooting, then president of the NRA, David Keene, said that such tragedies are often exploited by the media and politicians. He said, "Colorado has already closed the so-called 'loophole' and the killer didn't buy his guns at a gun show."[84] The handgun in the Azana Spa shooting was purchased legally in a private transaction, not at a gun show.[85] The Sandy Hook shooter used weapons legally purchased by his mother.[86]:16[87]

I was disappointed to see the Virginia legislature balk, largely under pressure from the NRA, at efforts to close the gun-show loophole that allows anyone to buy weapons without any background check. That loophole still exists.[79]

The Virginia Tech shooting on April 16, 2007 again brought discussion of the gun show loophole to the forefront of U.S. politics, even though the shooter passed a background check and purchased his weapons legally at a Virginia gun shop via a Wisconsin-based Internet dealer.[73][74] Previously, in December 2005, a Virginia judge had directed the Virginia Tech gunman to undergo outpatient treatment, but because he was treated as an outpatient, Virginia did not send his name to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). On April 30, 2007, Tim Kaine, the Governor of Virginia, issued an executive order intended to prohibit the sale of guns to anyone found to be dangerous and forced to undergo involuntary mental health treatment.[75] He called on lawmakers to close the gun show loophole.[76] A bill to close the gun show loophole in Virginia was submitted, but eventually failed.[77] Since then, efforts by Virginia lawmakers to close the gun show loophole have been repeatedly blocked.[78] The Governor wrote:

After the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, gun shows and background checks became a focus of national debate in the United States.[69][70][71] Weeks after the Columbine shooting, Frank Lautenberg introduced a proposal to close the gun show loophole in federal law. It was passed in the Senate, but did not pass in the House.[72]

Contributing Events

In 2013, The NRA said that a universal background check system for gun buyers is both impracticable and unnecessary, but an effective instant check system that includes records of persons adjudicated mentally ill would prevent potentially dangerous people from getting their hands on firearms.[66] The group argues that only 10 percent of firearms are purchased via private sellers. They also dispute the idea that the current law amounts to a gun-show loophole, pointing out that many of the people selling at gun shows are federally licensed dealers.[67] The group has stated in that past that: gun control supporters' objectives are to reduce gun sales and register guns, and that there is no "loophole," but legal commerce under the status quo (like book fairs or car shows).[34][68]

In 2010, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said: "Because of the gun show loophole, in most states prohibited buyers can walk into any gun show and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers with no background check. Many of these gun sellers operate week-to-week with no established place of business, traveling from gun show to gun show."[65]:5

Criticisms of the "gun show loophole" imply that federal regulations allow otherwise prohibited retail purchases ("primary market sales") of firearms at gun shows. This implication is false. The real criticism is leveled at secondary market sales by private citizens.[64]

In 2009, Nicholas J. Johnson of the Fordham University School of Law, wrote:

In 2003, Alexander DeConde asserted that requiring background checks for all gun show sales was the prelude to registration and their Second Amendment rights would be jeopardized.[63]

In 1999, Dave Kopel, attorney and gun rights advocate for the NRA, said: "gun shows are no 'loophole' in the federal laws," and that singling out guns shows was "the first step toward abolishing all privacy regarding firearms and implementing universal gun registration."[61] In January 2000, Kopel said that no proposed federal law would have made any difference at Columbine since the adults who supplied the weapons were legal purchasers.[62]

David Kopel

On May 27, 1999 Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, saying: "We think it is reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere for anyone." LaPierre has since said that he is opposed to universal background checks.[59][60]:118

The fundamental flaw in the gun show loophole proposal is its failure to address the great majority of private-party sales, which occur at other locations and increasingly over the Internet at sites where any non-prohibited person can list firearms for sale and buyers can search for private-party sellers.[58]

In 1996 the Violence Policy Center (VPC) released Gun Shows in America: Tupperware® Parties for Criminals, a study that identified problems associated with gun shows.[54] The VPC study documented the effect of the 1986 Firearms Owners' Protection Act in regard to proliferation of gun shows, which resulted in "a readily available source of weapons and ammunition for a wide variety of criminals, as well as Timothy McVeigh and David Koresh".[55][56] According to the VPC, the utility of gun shows to dangerous individuals stems primarily from the exemption enjoyed by private sellers from the sales criteria of the Brady law as well as the absence of a background check.[57] The director of the program which is located at the UC Davis, Garen J. Wintemute, wrote, "There is no such loophole in federal law, in the limited sense that the law does not exempt private-party sales at gun shows from regulation that is required elsewhere."[58]:104 Wintemute said,

Notable Opinions

At the beginning of 2013, President Barack Obama outlined proposals regarding new gun control legislation asking congress to close the gun show loophole by requiring background checks for all firearm sales.[50][51][52] Closing the gun show loophole became part of a larger push for universal background checks to close "federal loopholes on such checks at gun shows and other private sales."[53]

The gap in information available to NICS about such prohibiting mental health adjudications and commitments. Filling these information gaps will better enable the system to operate as intended, to keep guns out of the hands of persons prohibited by federal or state law from receiving or possessing firearms.[49]

Goals and objectives that the NIAA sought to address included: [48] (NIAA) into law.NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 President Bush ordered an investigation by the U.S. Departments of Health, Education, and Justice in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings in order to make recommendations on ways the federal government can prevent such tragedies. On January 8, 2008 he signed the [47][46][45]

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