Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Loophole" the Film

The Daily Collegian has a story about a UMass student who is making a film.

I visited two New Hampshire gun shows last year. I bought a double-barreled shotgun from another attendee for cash only. When he neglected to check my ID, he committed a federal felony. More undercover presence from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) at shows would make private sellers less likely to violate the law like this. The laws are often broken by private sellers, but a background check is still not required in such a sale, demonstrated in the majority of U.S. states.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. "When he neglected to check my ID, he committed a federal felony."


    There is no federal law which requires ID to be checked for a private sale.

  2. Based upon the trailer, "Loophole the Film" does not tell us anything that we don't already know: It is possible to buy some kind of gun from a private individual at a gun show without the same background check that occurs when one buys from a licensed dealer.

    However, the extent of any problem that results from that remains a matter of debate.

    Nonetheless, I support requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows, subject to some reasonable conditions (posted here previously) to reassure gunowners that such a requirement is not just the beginning of further attacks upon gun shows.

    The fact that most gun control advocates appear to want carte blanche to write their owns gun show law and refuse to discuss any reasonable conditions, tells me much that I need to know about the issue.

  3. I think the US attorney should take pity on him, and if he agrees to plead guilty for the federal crime for which he freely admits he committed, he can avoid jail time, or have minimal jail time, along with probation.

    But really, there's no need to ruin this kids life over this. The law he broke is unjust. It doesn't make it unjust just because it was some dumb college kid who previously had his whole life ahead of him, than if it was some middle aged gun owner with a family.

  4. However, if the author/director of the film intentionally bought a firearm that he knew he wasn't legally allowed to purchase or posses, the director did in fact commit a felony.


  5. Update:

    There was a federal felony, and it was committed by the person in the video.

    He now faces 10 years in prison if prosecuted.

    So what say you mikeb? Should he be arrested and prosecuted for the crime?

  6. So what say you mikeb? Should he be arrested and prosecuted for the crime?

    I would assume he would want him prosecuted. If not he bears "shared responsibility" for any and all future crimes committed by this person.

  7. MikeB,

    Please quit promoting the illegal arms trade by continuing to glamorize such blatant criminals. Why do you antis make heroes out of members of the iron pipeline?

  8. I must insist that I committed no crime. NH police notified the ATF of the sale, and let me go after a pleasant chat about some of the gun laws there. I have contacted the NH ATF myself months ago. About half of my film is an interview with the UMass Deputy Chief of police. While I'm flattered to be portrayed as an outlaw, I don't think it's quite accurate.

    One point I brought up was the NH law allowing you to bypass an ID in a private sale between known persons. What this means exactly is never defined. The seller could try and argue "I know Dan. We met for a whole 5 minutes!"

    I'm glad to see my work is sparking some debate. Thank you for all the attention. I see it as youtube hits.

  9. Dan, Thanks so much for coming by with a comment. I'm honored.

    Some of my commenters immediately went to the old standard of calling you the criminal instead of responding to the facts you bring up in the video. As one guy said, there's nothing new there, but I applaud what your doing because many people still don't realize what's going on.

    Some of my pro-gun friends are so convincing and so eloquent that I can easily forget the fact that if they condone this "loophole" business, they are bogus. Others, less biased perhaps, insist that we need to compromise.

    I say what's right is right. If the laws allow unsafe people to buy handguns those laws have to be cleaned up, period.

  10. As documented over at SIH...

    "(3) for any person, other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to transport into or receive in the State where he resides (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, the State where it maintains a place of business) any firearm purchased or otherwise obtained by such person outside that State, except that this paragraph (A) shall not preclude any person who lawfully acquires a firearm by bequest or intestate succession in a State other than his State of residence from transporting the firearm into or receiving it in that State, if it is lawful for such person to purchase or possess such firearm in that State, (B) shall not apply to the transportation or receipt of a firearm obtained in conformity with subsection (b)(3) of this section, and (C) shall not apply to the transportation of any firearm acquired in any State prior to the effective date of this chapter;

    So it does seem that he’s in the clear if he legally disposed of the firearm in New Hampshire. The question I would have is whether he disposed of it legally. It gets complicated that he’s a Massachusetts resident transferring a gun in New Hampshire, because for that we have 18 USC 922(a)(5):

    (5) for any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe does not reside in (or if the person is a corporation or other business entity, does not maintain a place of business in) the State in which the transferor resides; except that this paragraph shall not apply to

    (A) the transfer, transportation, or delivery of a firearm made to carry out a bequest of a firearm to, or an acquisition by intestate succession of a firearm by, a person who is permitted to acquire or possess a firearm under the laws of the State of his residence, and

    (B) the loan or rental of a firearm to any person for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes;"

    The police do not qualify as a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or collector.

    Dan committed a federal felony.

    But please feel free to ignore the law.

  11. Dan,

    Welcome. Are you a Massachusetts resident? If so, then you are guilty of a crime. Not much gray area there.

    Of course I for one think it is a silly law and would do well by you if I were on a jury but that does not mean you did not violate the law.

    You seek to fix something that is only broken by criminals.

  12. From Dan (posted elsewhere):

    "Consider a hypothetical scenario: I am an escaped mental patient. I want a gun. I cannot find a way to obtain a gun on the black market. A gang member would never trust me; my appearance is too suspicious. I know a visit to a gun store will uncover my mental health history and alert authorities. Instead, I visit a gun show in my home state, and with an ID, purchase a gun in a private sale. The same sale that is illegal at a gun store is completed easily and legally at a gun show."

    This is something that you see a lot from people on that side of the issue: "hypothetical scenarios." If this is such a big problem, why don't they quote many REAL-WORLD examples?

    Come to think of it hypothetical scenarios may just be an IMPROVEMENT. As I have posted before, gun control advocates often promote their gun show position by citing incidents like VA Tech that have NOTHING TO DO with gun shows.

  13. Mikeb: "As one guy said, there's nothing new there"

    That was me.


    Want to include something that really IS new? Include the reasons that moderate gunowners who are inclined to support a gun show law wind up NOT supporting it. From Mikeb's blog:

    While there are many gunowners who oppose more regulation on rights grounds, there are also many gunowners like me who are willing to compromise on a system that would enable and require private sellers to access the background check system at gun shows. The main obstacle to such compromise has been the intransigence and extremism of gun control advocates. For example: I would consider legislation giving private sellers at gun shows access to the current instant background check system, but gun control advocates want to ABOLISH the instant background check system and replace it with a mandatory waiting period system of 5 days or more, which is unacceptable to gunowners. Also, in some of those states which HAVE required checks at gun shows, gun control advocates have CONTINUED to attack gun shows there by attempting to ban them in the most popular (or sometimes only) locations. This recently occurred in California, and is obviously unacceptable to gunowners. Moderate gunowners are open to reasonable compromise: Background checks for sales by private sellers at gun shows IF gun control advocates agree to NOT abolish the instant check system and NOT continue to attack gun shows. But gun control advocates have NOT been open to reasonable compromise.