Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crossroads of the West - The Biggest Travelling Gun Show in America

Salon reports

Crossroads of the West bills itself as the biggest traveling gun show in America, a bastion for constitutional rights where freedom lovers can exchange weapons, ammunition and ideas. The 35-year-old company promotes events in four states – Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah – and last year’s shows drew more than 407,000 customers at up to $16 bucks a pop. Last weekend, Crossroads occupied the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, and although these expos swing through the area regularly, the parking lot filled up fast.

What makes gun shows such a tricky market for regulators is that often there is very little on the surface to distinguish federal licensed dealers from the private sellers who can sell weapons without a background check. This “Gun Show Loophole” has been a favorite legislative target of gun-control advocates for a decade now, and it’s one of the key provisions in the democratic platform that has so many gun rights advocates riled up. 

Here at Crossroads, private sellers often have tables stocked with an equally dizzying array of firearms – many new in the box – and the only difference is that their weapons are labeled with handwritten garage sale-style price tags, and that instead of fancy canvas signs they often just post a sheet that reads: PRIVATE SELLER/NO PAPER. With enough cash and a flash of your Arizona ID, you can walk away with as many untraceable firearms as you like.

Customers who put a premium on privacy deliberately seek out these private sellers, and critics don’t like customers who put a premium on privacy, namely convicted felons, drug abusers, the mentally ill, or other “prohibited possessors.” Last year, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an advocacy group co-chaired by New York’s Michael Bloomberg, released videos of an undercover sting at a Crossroads show here in Phoenix where investigators were able to buy on several occasions even after baiting vendors with statements like “I probably wouldn’t pass a background check.”
The self-centered nature of the gun-rights folks never ceases to amaze me. It's so obvious that some harm is being done by these private sellers, the only question is how much.  And, without interfering with the lives and rights of lawful gun owners the "private sale loophole" could be eliminated. Yet, they won't hear of it.

Why is that? Could these folks really be that self-absorbed and unconcerned about the preventable gun violence that takes place as a result of this easy access to guns?

They say criminals will always get guns.  But, they don't KNOW that, it's just a guess.  And there's evidence to the contrary. Where there are fewer guns, there are fewer murders, not just murders with guns, but fewer murders, period.

One explanation I can come up with is that the adamant voices which rail against any and all gun control initiatives are just the fringe minority of gun owners at large.  There have been surveys that indicate that even gun owners and  NRA members agree with the background check problem.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. And, without interfering with the lives and rights of lawful gun owners the "private sale loophole" could be eliminated. Yet, they won't hear of it."

    and again, your proposition would only affect law abiding citizens and not criminals. What would compel a criminal seller to conduct a background check on his criminal buyer?

    "They say criminals will always get guns. But, they don't KNOW that, it's just a guess. "

    I suppose we're just guessing that drug users actually get drugs too?

    1. Bill, why do you make this so difficult? I have a good point and instead of conceding that you try to wear me down with tedious repetition and playing dumb.

      Most gun control laws are aimed at law abiding citizens because that's where ALL the guns come from that end up in criminal hands. They ALL start out with you guys and through various means, due to lax or non-existent laws, flow into the criminal world.

    2. We're not being difficult, other than refusing to go along with your efforts to take away our rights. If you want to control crime, you should go after the criminals, not the law-abiding people.

    3. The criminals get their guns from you law-abiding people. You need to be constrained to hold on to your property better.

    4. Until we can trust your side, there will be no deals.

    5. Or maybe criminals get their guns from you. Whatever did happen to those guns you had obtained both legally and illegally anyway?

  2. 1. I'm not a part of any of that list of prohibited persons, but I like my privacy as well. A gun that can't be traced is much harder to confiscate. Mikeb, until you understand that point, you'll never get it.

    2. You consistently ignore the number of guns already in this country. I've asked you before, do you imagine that they'll all disappear if your proposals became law?

    3. This gun show is an example of what makes America great--freedom.

    1. You seriously think about gun confiscation???????

    2. How else do you think a government gets guns out of the society? That's what happened in Britain. Guns were registered, and gun owners were licensed. Now there are no handguns allowed--even though some still get in illegally. Look at Canada's experience with registration. After years and lots of money spent, there was no noticable advantage for solving crime. My point here is that there is no purpose for registration other than having a list of things to take away someday.

    3. No need to look to even to other countries. Gun confiscation has happened several times right here in the U.S. of A.

      In New Orleans after Katrina
      In the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia in 1999

      And another confiscation bill just failed in PRoK August of this year.

      So yes, I would have to agree that confiscation is a proven and demonstrable threat with the US.

    4. And tyranny follows, right? Like it did in England and Australia.

    5. As Frank Zappa said, it can't happen here.

    6. Given the proliferation of cameras across Britain, I'd say that country is much closer to tyranny than I'd be comfortable with.

    7. Nice dodge Mike!

      You ridiculed Greg for considering confiscation as a legitimate concern. Then, when I reminded you that it has happened in the US - and very recently in fact - you move right past it and on to more ridicule. Nice job!

    8. That was not a dodge. It can't happen here. We're not talking about the San Francisco or the Katrina situations which were isolated anomalies. We're talking about gun confiscation with a capital "C." It brings to mind images out of movies, heavily armed swat-type guys going door to door throughout the ENTIRE COUNTRY. That's what YOU mean when you talk about confiscation, not that picayune shit that happened a couple times in isolated places.

      So, when YOU bring it up, you're talking about something that will NEVER happen and when called on it you revert to those pathetic examples as proof that it already has.

      Answer this, since you never dodge or prevaricate, and now that I've clarified what we're talking about, do you think gun confiscation could come to the US?

  3. MikeB said, "They [gun rights advocates] say criminals will always get guns. But, they don't KNOW that, it's just a guess."

    No guessing ... we do know that. A prison is the finest example of gun control carried to the extreme. In fact a prison is the finest example of weapon control carried to the extreme. And yet prisoners have acquired guns, knives, and other weapons in prison. Regardless of how successfully prisons have managed to keep weapons out of the wrong hands, I refuse to live as a prisoner in order to achieve that level of success.

    And MikeB fails to address an enormous problem with gun control: if commercially manufactured guns are too difficult or expensive for a criminal to acquire, then they can make their own with $20 in parts readily available from local hardware stores. Will that $20 gun be as nice as a commercially manufactured gun? No. Will it still get the job done? Absolutely.

    When criminals can make a gun anywhere in the U.S. with $20 in hardware store parts, gun control laws will never succeed in disarming criminals, period. But gun control laws do put citizens at a huge disadvantage when criminals attack. So what is the point?

    1. "And yet prisoners have acquired guns"

      Based on that you say I'm wrong. Gun control would mean fewer criminals would get guns and less damage would be done.


    2. Arguing for less damage is more sensible. Now the question is whether or not gun control laws that you advocate would actually result in less damage ... and whether those laws would infringe on citizen's rights.

      For example law enforcement would reduce crime if they would conduct surprise inspections of any citizen's home without the need for warrants or probably cause. However, such a tactic violates citizens' Natural Property Rights as stated in the Fourth Amendment. So that course of action is a no-go.

      On to gun control. Will the laws that MikeB advocates reduce damage? There are two questions that will answer that:

      (1) If criminals did not have guns, would they commit fewer violent crimes? I cannot find any data that tells me criminals will stop committing violent crimes if they do not have guns. The United Kingdom's violent crime rate is about 5 times higher than the U.S. and they have had extreme gun control laws for a long time. And logic dictates that violent criminals will attack with whatever weapon is readily at hand. Clubs and knives will always be readily available so I see no logical reason for criminals to quit. Will attacks with clubs and knives be less lethal than attacks with guns? Maybe. Will criminals attack citizens more often and more boldly if there is no chance that citizens will be armed? Probably. Will the citizens that defend themselves with firearms and escape injury every year by injured more often when they face violent attacks unarmed? Of course. Will there be any net reduction in the "damage" that criminals cause? No one knows for certain. It doesn't appear that way to me.

      (2) Will MikeB's laws keep guns out of criminal hands? Even if citizens had no guns for criminals to steal or illegally purchase, criminals could purchase as many "imported" guns as smugglers cared to smuggle into the country. With something like 30,000 miles of border and coasts, it is quite easy to smuggle into the U.S. Better yet, criminals could "roll their own" -- make their own guns with parts available at any local hardware store for $20. Combine these factors and I have no reason to believe that gun control would keep guns out of criminal hands. Thus gun control would not reduce the damage that criminals cause.

      And the final question, do gun control laws infringe on citizens' rights which would make gun control laws a no-go -- just like random, surprise searches of citizens' homes without warrants or probably cause are a no-go? Gun control laws prevent citizen's from having the means to defend themselves. That violates their Natural Right to Life. Gun control laws prevent citizens from possessing firearms in many locations. That violates their Natural Right to Liberty. And gun control laws prevent citizens from even owning many kinds of guns. That violates their Natural Right to Property. Since gun control laws clearly violate all major categories of citizens' rights, they are a no-go.

  4. MikeB: “And, without interfering with the lives and rights of lawful gun owners the "private sale loophole" could be eliminated. Yet, they won't hear of it.”

    Do you consider a felony prison term to be interfering with their lives?

  5. New York’s Michael Bloomberg, released videos of an undercover sting at a Crossroads show here in Phoenix where investigators were able to buy on several occasions even after baiting vendors with statements like “I probably wouldn’t pass a background check.”

    Notice how in these sting videos the buyer always says “probably” and laughs it off at the end like they are making a joke? We don’t know how many takes they had to do to find a couple guys to sell to them, but I bet their success would drop precipitously if they said it like this: “Are you a private seller? Good. I am a convicted felon, and I CAN NOT pass a background check, so I came to this gun show to find a private seller to buy a gun from.” Say it dead serious, no laughing. Since these gun shows are a haven for evil gun dealers who are looking to arm criminals for a quick buck, they should have no problem getting this type of footage, right?