Friday, July 20, 2012

Gun Show Sales

While checking out the information about required gun show private sale background checks in Colorado, I came across this charming little paragraph.  It demonstrates what a crock of organic fertilizer the claim was that FWM made recently that if we required background checks on gun sales, everyone would have to transfer their firearms to an FFL's inventory.
CLEARLY, that is NOT true, and we can and should make the stricter provisions on private gun sales a federal requirement so as to make it effective and consistent.
From wikipedia:
Presently, 17 states regulate private firearm sales at gun shows. Seven states require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows (California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Illinois and Colorado). Four states (Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) require background checks on all handgun, but not long gun, purchasers at gun shows. Six states require individuals to obtain a permit to purchase handguns that involves a background check (Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, Nebraska). Certain counties in Florida require background checks on all private sales of handguns at gun shows. The remaining 33 states do not restrict private, intrastate sales of firearms at gun shows in any manner.[16][17]

And then we had the equally massive fail on the truth-o-meter for FWM's claim that gun sales to prohibited people, like felons and drug users, were not occurring at gun shows, and that claims and videos showing it occurring were 'dog and pony shows'.

Of course, he didn't try to claim that those were factually inaccurate bad sales; because he has no basis for such a claim.

However this paragraph from the same wikipedia article shows how massively wrong his assumptions and beliefs are -- and how the NRA lies to the world about the failure of the gun culture in this country.

Research and studies
In 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) published the "Following the Gun" report.[18] The ATF analyzed more than 1,530 trafficking investigations over a two-and-a-half-year period and found gun shows to be the second leading source of illegally diverted guns in the nation. "Straw purchasing was the most common channel in trafficking investigations."[19] These investigations involved a total of 84,128 firearms that had been diverted from legal to illegal commerce. All told, the report identified more than 26,000 firearms that had been illegally trafficked through gun shows in 212 separate investigations. The report stated that: "A prior review of ATF gun show investigations shows that prohibited persons, such as convicted felons and juveniles, do personally buy firearms at gun shows and gun shows are sources of firearms that are trafficked to such prohibited persons. The gun show review found that firearms were diverted at and through gun shows by straw purchasers, unregulated private sellers, and licensed dealers. Felons were associated with selling or purchasing firearms in 46 percent of the gun show investigations. Firearms that were illegally diverted at or through gun shows were recovered in subsequent crimes, including homicide and robbery, in more than a third of the gun show investigations."

Gun-control advocate Garen Wintemute, Director of UC Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program, released a study in 2007 claiming that gun shows are a venue for illegal activity, including straw purchases and unlicensed sales to prohibited individuals.[23] In contrast, in 2008, professors Mark Duggan and Randi Hjalmarsson at the University of Maryland and Brian Jacob from the University of Michigan released a paper that found no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or gun suicides.[24] The study looked at 2,200 gun shows in Texas and almost 1,200 gun shows in California during the period of 1994–2004 and examined their effect on gun homicide and gun suicide rates within a 25-mile radius of the shows in the four weeks immediately following their conclusion. The researchers stated that, “Taken together, our results suggest that gun shows do not increase the number of homicides or suicides and that the absence of gun show regulations does not increase the number of gun-related deaths as proponents of these regulations suggest.” However, the Duggan, et al., paper was critiqued publicly by other researchers from the University of California, Davis, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Northeastern University, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. These researchers critiqued the model underlying the paper for failing to reflect the realities of the operations of gun markets and the dynamics of criminal gun use.[25]
In October 2009, the City of New York released “Gun Show Undercover: Report on Illegal Sales at Gun Shows.”[citation needed] The report details undercover investigations that took place at gun shows in three states—Tennessee, Nevada, and Ohio—between May and August 2009. Private investigators were hired by the Office of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to perform sting operations on federally licensed firearm dealers and unlicensed private sellers at 14 different shows in these states. Private investigators posing as purchasers approached 33 unlicensed sellers and told them that they “probably couldn’t pass a background check.” 22 (or 67%) of the private sellers sold a gun to them anyway. Additionally, 17 federally licensed dealers at the shows were approached by investigators who simulated a “straw purchase.” In a straw purchase, a prohibited purchaser recruits an individual with a clean criminal record to fill out paperwork, pass the background check, and purchase firearms for him/her. All but one licensed dealer sold investigators a gun in this manner, again despite the fact that it constituted a clear violation of federal law. These illegal transactions were videotaped by investigators.[citation needed
ATF criminal investigations at Gun Shows
From 2004 to 2006, ATF conducted surveillance and undercover investigations at 195 gun shows (approximately 2% of all shows). Specific targeting of suspected individuals (77%) resulted in 121 individual arrests and 5,345 firearms seizures. Seventy nine of the 121 ATF operation plans were known suspects previously under investigation.[1]
Additionally, ATF Field Offices report that:
  • Between 2002 and 2005, more than 400 guns legally purchased at gun shows from licensed dealers in the city of Richmond, Virginia, were later recovered in connection with criminal activity. Bouchard notes that, "These figures do not take into account firearms that may have been sold at Richmond area gun shows by unlicensed sellers, as these transactions are more difficult to track."[3] It is noteworthy that the "in connection with criminal activity" category includes stolen guns later recovered from burglaries, but the report does not specify how many guns in the 400 gun figure cited were not guns used in the commission of a crime, but that were rather the fruits of criminal activity.
  • The Department of Justice reports, "after reviewing hundreds of trace reports associated with guns used in crime recovered in the New Orleans area and interviewing known gang members and other criminals, ATF Special Agents identified area gun shows as a source used by local gang members and other criminals to obtain guns."[1]
  • In 2003 and 2004, the San Francisco ATF Field Division conducted six general operations at Reno, Nevada, gun shows to investigate interstate firearms trafficking. During these operations, "agents purchased firearms and identified violations related to "off paper" sales, sales to out-of-state residents, and dealing in firearms without a license." The "ATF seized or purchased 400 firearms before making arrests and executing search warrants, which resulted in the seizure of an additional 600 firearms and the recovery of explosives."[1]
  • ATF's Columbus Field Division conducted its anti-trafficking operations based on intelligence from Cleveland police that "many of the guns recovered in high-crime areas of the city had been purchased at local gun shows." Subsequent gun show sting operations resulted in the seizure of "5 guns, one indictment, and two pending indictments for felony possession of a firearm." The state of Ohio is one of the top ten source states for recovered guns used in crime.[1]
  • The ATF's Phoenix Field Division reported that "many gun shows attracted large numbers of gang members from Mexico and California. They often bought large quantities of assault weapons and smuggled them into Mexico or transported them to California."[1] Garen Wintemute, a professor at the University of California at Davis, calls Arizona and Texas a "gunrunner's paradise."[26]
Regarding the trafficking of firearms from the U.S. into Mexico, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report in June 2009 which stated: “While it is impossible to know how many firearms are illegally smuggled into Mexico in a given year, about 87 percent of firearms seized by Mexican authorities and traced in the last 5 years originated in the United States, according to data from Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to U.S. and Mexican government officials, these firearms have been increasingly more powerful and lethal in recent years. Many of these firearms come from gun shops and gun shows in Southwest border states.” [7]

So any way you slice dice or chop it, gun shows are a highly significant contributor to the transfer of legal weapons to illegal buyers.  Any way you fold, spindle or mutilate it, the NRA on behalf of their gun manufacturer puppet masters have a vested interest in the profits from all of these illegal sales -- it makes them money.

We need to close the loopholes, and to correct the bullshit misinformation and stupidity that is rampant among the gun nuts.

It wouldn't be a bad thing either, to restrict firearms so as to reduce or eliminate these occurrences of mass shootings, or the horrific frequency of murder/suicides and domestic violence, stalking and harassment incidents along with them.

It is morally, ethically, and logically indefensible for the gun nuts to try to justify any of the benefits of lax firearms regulation in the face of this obvious detriment to our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

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