With all the recent mass shootings, there have been more and more media coverage concerning gun control. Even the President is calling for something to be done that is reasonable and would not violate the Constitutional right for any citizen to buy and own a firearm. In the case of the most recent shooting in Texas, it has come to light that the shooter was denied a legal purchase – he failed a background check. That means the law in place works. It doesn’t prevent, and no law can, any illegal purchase.
There are legal purchases, done without a background check. These are between individuals. I’ve actually bought – and sold – from/to friends. In both cases we each knew each other (worked together for more than a year) and there was never a question about mental stability or selling to a felon. But what if you’re not that familiar with the buyer? This is what I think has become known as the “Gun Show Loophole. Let me explain.
I’ve been to many gun shows and on occasion have purchased a firearm from a licensed dealer. The same laws apply at the gun show as they do if I entered a local gun shop. I have to fill out some paperwork, the store makes a phone call checking to see if I have any felonies, or anything else that may prevent the sale (using my SSN). If nothing turns up (it’s called “Instant Background Check”), then the purchase is completed. Otherwise, no sale.
People may also bring in personal weapons that they want to sell as individuals. Where I live, these firearms are registered at the door but if I see someone walking around with say, a hunting rifle of a type I am looking for, I can make the cash purchase right there. No background check required. When I leave the show, because the gun was registered at the door by the seller, I am required to stop by and show that yes, I am the new owner (the previous owner goes with me to validate). Of course none of these people know who I am or what my actual purpose may be for buying the firearm – no different than if I went through a gun store and passed a background check.
One idea that I’ve thought about is that at the gun show, when a deal is made, is that there’s a special table there to run a check on the buyer, with the buyer paying an extra fee for the check. That would solve the “Gun Show Loophole” issue, but would do nothing for me buying from you, or vice-versa , in our own home. Of course, the law could change where individual buying and selling overall must go through a FFL (gun store).
the only problem I can see in any of this is a firearms transfer within a family. My Father gave me his old .3006 (single shot) when I graduated from high school. No paperwork, no anything other than a gift from a Dad to his son. Would a change in the law prevent these family transfers (possibly inheritances)? Hopefully not. I don;t know if this is a good idea or not, but I think all of use, gun owners and non gon owners, should be able to sit down together and come up with something sensible that both sides can support that doesn;t violate rights, and may possibly help to save lives.