Is there a Gun Show or Internet Loophole
Today I look forward to debunking the Internet/Gun Show Loophole(s).
The so called “Gun Show Loophole” is one of the most misunderstood and misrepresented “Gun Control” measures enacted in the USA. The media and the Obama Administration have been highly focused on the “Gun Show Loophole” in order to push forward the “Gun Control” agenda put forth by the Obama Administration.
Just like the phrase “Gun Safety” the phrase “Gun Show Loophole” has a definition put forth by “Gun Control” advocates that is fictitious. To be clear, just like “Gun Safety” is the current title dreamed up by gun control advocates to replace the “Gun Control” title, the “Gun Show Loophole” is the title chosen to represent “Private Firearm Sales’. To a gun control advocate, a catchy phrase is more important than facts.
Fact: “Gun Control” is now called “Gun Safety” because who would say no to gun safety just as the “Brady Law Loophole” also known as the “Private Sale Loophole” is now called the “Gun Show Loophole”.
I know this article is long but I wanted to explain that the gun show loophole is fictitious as well as arm everyone with information to effectively debate the issue. Therefore I have broken the article into four sections.
- An explanation and debunking of the gun show loophole
- Arguments and statistics used by gun control advocates
- The dangers of enacting federal legislation as a means of correction
- Links, documents and videos
First off I would like to point out that the Internet Loophole is based upon private sales as is the Gun Show Loophole so they are effectively the same. I will be concentrating on the Gun Show Loophole in this article because they are the same type of transaction so to know one is to know the other.
Lets get started with the definition of “loophole”.
“An ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules”
This implies that “Licensed Firearms Dealers” (FFL) have found a way to exploit or circumvent the laws on the books. This is pure rhetoric, a fallacy. All licensed firearms dealers are required, by federal law, to do a background check through the “National Instant Criminal Background Check System” (NICS). Additionally FFL’s are restricted from doing any private transactions as a private citizen even when not at a storefront so they must run a background check regardless of the location. This leads me to ask the question, where is the loophole?
The fact of the matter is, there is no loophole! What is being called a loophole is known as a private firearm sale/transaction. The federal laws and regulations that apply to a licensed firearm dealer (FFL) do not apply to private transactions. This means that the laws that the gun control advocates are claiming to be loopholed do not even apply to this type of transaction.
The gun show loophole is nothing more than a private transaction being conducted by two or more individuals in the sale of a firearm. Furthermore, this applies to the supposed Internet Loophole. The fact is, the private sale of a firearm regardless of the location (the internet, a flea market, a gun show, your home, the Burger King parking lot, etc.) is just that, a private sale, so you can see how the Internet Loophole and the Gun Show Loophole are one in the same.
Note: You may have heard the phrase “Unlicensed Gun Dealer”. To set the record straight, there is no such thing as an “Unlicensed Gun Dealer”. Gun control advocates use this phrase as if it has meaning so keep an ear out.
This pretty much covers what is being called the gun show loophole. Unfortunately, understanding that there is no gun show loophole is just the tip of the iceberg. Gun control advocates will continue to argue even if you are able to convince them that the gun show loophole does not exist. Advocates will use exaggerated or falsified statistic and facts to bolster there argument. The rest of this article contains information, facts and links to help you better debate and understand the fallacy known as the gun show loophole. Read on.
THE GUN CONTROL ADVOCATES ARGUMENT.
A few gun control arguments can be made in favor of enacting legislation to prevent private firearm transactions in regards to the dubious gun show loophole.
- This is semantics, people are able to buy firearms without a background check at a gun show or from the internet.
- The sale of firearms by private citizens within the “Gun Control Act” is limited to people that received firearms as an inheritance or for hobbyist and collectors to sale their firearms. Not for the everyday Joe to sale firearms.
- A large number of firearms used in crimes are obtained through the gun show loophole. (This is addressed throughout this section with facts and statistics)
As for the first argument, this is mostly true, as far as Federal laws and regulations are concerned. Calling the pro-gun argument in regards to the gun show loophole semantics when it is being used by the gun control activists and politicians to push forward their agenda by exaggerating or making up statistics and falsified facts is arrogant at best. The gun control advocate would like you to think that every single merchant, dealer, private citizen, etc. are selling firearms without background checks. According to the promoters of gun shows, the sales of firearms the do not undergo a background check are miniscule and many of the private citizens transactions are to licensed dealers for trade-in or cash.
Gun control advocates will and have attempted to make their own dubious facts. Denver congresswoman Diana DeGette stated that 70% of guns used in crimes come from gun shows. The true figure is rather different, according to the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. A study released by the NIJ in December of 1997 (“Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities,” a report that covers much more than homicide), only 2 percent of criminal guns come from gun shows. Additionally a report from the Department of Justice from 2001 showed that .7 percent (Less than 1%) of criminals that the DOJ interviewed obtained their guns at a Gun show.
Here are the findings from the 1997 Justice Department survey of more than 18,000 state and federal convicts:
• 39.6% of criminals obtained a gun from a friend or family member
• 39.2% of criminals obtained a gun on the street or from an illegal source
• 0.7% of criminals purchased a gun at a gun show
• 1% of criminals purchased a gun at a flea market
• 3.8% of criminals purchased a gun from a pawn shop
• 8.3% of criminals actually bought their guns from retail outlets
Another gun control advocate statistic that I hear repeated over and over again is, an independent study that shows that 40 percent of gun purchases are from private sales at gun shows. What? 40% is quite a large number. Let’s take a closer look at this figure and the study.
First off all, this was far from being a study. It was from a report conducted in 1997 where 250 people that purchased a firearm in 1993 and 1994 were called on the phone. Out of the 250 people polled 35.7% stated that they did not buy their firearm from a dealer. This number was then rounded up to make it an even 40%. Let’s not forget that the 35.7% included people that received their firearms as gifts, inheritances and as prizes. If you were to remove these people alone, the figure becomes 26.4%, considerably smaller than original claim of 40%. We also need to consider that the report assumes that all the private transactions are from gun shows. Not to mention that the sample size, the line of questioning and the manner in which the survey was conducted is less than optimal. The sample size alone makes this figure irrelevant.
The second argument is based off liberal interpretation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) and the “Gun Control Act of 1968“. Much like the liberal interpretation of the Second Amendment, it is skewed in an attempt to make it work in their favor.
The Gun Control Act mandates the licensing of individuals and companies engaged in the business of selling firearms. The primary argument is based on the interpretation of the phrase “engaged in the business”. According Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) it is defined as follows,
The term “engaged in the business” means—
as applied to a dealer in firearms, as defined in section 921 (a)(11)(A), a person who
devotes time, attention, and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business
with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale
of firearms, but such term shall not include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges,
or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or who
sells all or part of his personal collection of firearms
People that are not “engaged in the business” are not required to be licensed under the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA). Here is the clasue listed under “Dealer Licensing”.
A dealer’s license would be required of anyone “whose time, attention and labor is occupied
by dealing in firearms as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of
livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of an inventory or [sic] firearms.”121
Persons making occasional sales or selling all or part of a “personal collection” were expressly
The gun control advocates would have you believe that the people selling privately owned firearms are somehow not exempt and/or breaking the law. Anyway, regardless of the definition of “engaged in the business”, the laws are based squarely upon the “Interstate Commerce Clause“. Here is the short definition of the Interstate Commerce Clause as it applies to the gun show loophole,
Interstate commerce, or commerce among the several states, is the free exchange of commodities between citizens of different states across state lines.
Since the sale of a privately owned firearm requires the purchaser to be a citizen of the state the transaction is being conducted in, the definition of “engaged in the business” is irrelevant. Any laws and/or regulations on this matter are left for the state to determine not the Federal Government because the interstate commerce clause has no say so on sales that do not cross state lines.
Well, if we are not carful and agree that the so called gun show loophole must be closed, we may end up with more than we originally bargained for. Closing the gun show loophole or as I like to put it, restricting the private sales of firearms at gun shows, without stipulations and/or carful scrutiny and consideration of all variables could have a huge impact on our private lives.
The inability to sale a firearm outside of an FFL, such as buying a firearm for your son, passing down your grandfathers rifle to your son or daughter, giving a firearm to a sibling that is moving out to live on their own, passing your firearms to loved ones through a will and testament or even giving a firearm to your daughter for Christmas. We must be extremely cautious when considering legislation of this sort, especially Federal legislation. Another concern would be the states control of sales and purchases made within its boarders. By enacting legislation on the federal level, we are giving up control to the Federal Government. This could be very dangerous. Depending on the language used within the legislation we may be giving up a lot more than the private sales of firearms at a gun show.
If it is decided to move forward on this matter, we must be particularly carful. We already know that gun control advocates use phrases such as gun safety rather than gun control because who is going to say no to gun safety. We also know that they flat out lie and make up so called facts. We must also remember that gun control is just that, control, you are just fooling yourself if you think that politicians in favor of gun control have any interest in decreasing violent crimes in the USA.
Most of all, please take into consideration that criminals are not like you and I, they do not observe, obey nor follow the laws that are put into place. If criminals followed the law then we would be a drug free country seeing that we have enacted a huge number of laws and regulations geared in the prevention of drug transactions. Simply making specific classes of drugs illegal has not done much in removing the drug problem from our great country.
BATF Form 4473
Federal Firearms Regulation Reference Guide Index
Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA)
National Instant Criminal Background Check System Regulations
Crimes and Criminal Procedure Definitions
NICS – Identifing Prohibited Persons
FOPA’s Clause to Prevent a Firearm Registry
1997 Study of Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities