Monday, November 19, 2007

No Loaded Guns in the Building

Last weekend, Steve and I attended "The Nation's Gun Show" at the Dulles Expo in Chantilly, Va. I went out of curiosity, and I found that what you hear on the news is true -- you really don't need anything but cash/check/credit to walk out with a high-powered rifle/AK-47/12 ga. shotgun/copious ammo/etc. I know this because Steve bought a gun there, and no records were made or taken during the transactions other than those needed to get his cash. While I support the right to bear arms, guaranteed in the Second Amendment, I firmly believe in background checks and waiting periods. This gun show situation is a massive loophole.

[Update: This page states the following:
Are background checks required at gun shows? No

No state requirement that a Brady criminal background check be done on people buying guns at gun shows if they are sold by "private" individuals or gun "collectors." Gun shows can operate on a "no questions asked, cash-and-carry" basis, making it easy for criminals and even juveniles to buy as many guns as they want at gun shows, including assault weapons. No records are required to be kept on gun show sales by private individuals or gun collectors, making it almost impossible for police to trace such weapons if they are used in a crime.

I guess the upshot is that, even if you have a huge booth at the gun show with a company name on it, and you take credit cards and offer 100s of items for sale, all you have to do is call yourself a "collector" and you're off the hook re: record keeping.]

Clientele at the gun show included lots of older men in ill-fitting mossy oak camo, many fathers and young sons, and lots of military-looking guys with high-and-tights. Needless to say, there were few women present; the ladies room was very clean. And, based on the variety of people walking around, it would not surprise me to find that some of the patrons were gang members and some were white supremacists. Not that I would admit to saying that certain people "look like" gang members or white supremacists. But take my word for it when I say that the secret is definitely out among the hoi polloi.

Apparently they've had some sort of problems with people bringing loaded guns into the building, evidenced by the signs below. In case you can't read them (cell phone photos again), they say: "UNLOAD YOUR GUNS. ALL OF THEM" and "NO LOADED GUNS IN THE BUILDING."

Included for sale at many tables were historical military artifacts, which is understandable. What is less understandable, to me, however, is the number of artifacts floating around with swastikas on them. I saw at least four tables with Nazi armbands and flags for sale. My thoughts on this: The people who think Nazi stuff is cool are the same people who are likely to go shoot up their high schools. So the only use I can see for this is to allow the crazies to self-select so law enforcement will know to keep an eye on them.

I know we have freedom of speech in this country, and I support that 100%. But what's wrong with these people that they aren't ashamed to sell this stuff? Just because you're free to sell it doesn't mean it's appropriate to do so.


Joelogon said...

You're mistaken about the "gun show loophole" -- if you buy a gun from a vendor, you need to bring two forms of ID and submit to the same Virginia State Police background check as if you bought it from a store.

Individual sales, though, are unregulated, though they take place outside -- it's why you see guys with rifles slung and "for sale" signs stuck to their backs.

DCSportsChick said...

Congrats on your DC Blogs mention!

nutmeg96 said...

Joelogon -- My husband bought a gun from a vendor and was not asked for any id other than that needed to cash his check. So perhaps there is a regulation that is not enforced -- the fact remains that there was no background check actually run.

Daniel said...

Funny note, the one person I ever knew who had a lot of (or any at all) Nazi stuff was Jewish.... I never could get a straight answer on why he had the stuff.. If I was Jewish the only time I would be involved in that stuff was so that I could destroy it....

Joelogon said...

Hi -- not knowing what your husband bought or from who, you're right: he may have bought from an individual collector who had a table, as opposed to a federally licensed dealer. They wouldn't have skipped any background check -- the state police usually have a visible and undercover presence, it would be kind of silly to try.

I still think you're overstating the loophole thing a bit -- if you sell lots of guns and aren't a licensed dealer, that'll tend to attract lots of attention from the ATF, etc. And a sale between individuals is a sale between individuals, whether it occurs at a gun show or not.

nutmeg96 said...

Joe, the fact is that you can buy guns from anyone there, as long as they call themselves "collectors." It's just semantics -- there were literally 1000s of guns there for sale by these "collectors" who looked for all intents and purposes like gun shops.

The point of the restrictions on gun sales via licensed dealers is so that a random MS-13 member (for example) can't buy a cache of weapons anonymously and walk off into the sunset. At a gun show, because the guys with 100s of guns for sale each call themselves collectors, that MS-13 member can do whatever he wants.

I actually didn't see anyone outside selling single guns from his trunk. That would have alarmed me a lot less, though -- it's the mass quantities for sale that I think create the problem.

I was at the show -- I saw it all myself. I wish it weren't the case, but unfortunately it was. I actually went there thinking that the media had probably overstated the situation (like they have done in the past talking about Uzis and whatnot), but in this case, they have not.

caramama said...

First, you can definitely go to gun shows and buy many guns without any background check or any police officer (undercover or otherwise) there to care about what you are buying. I have often been to a huge gun show held on Labor Day weekend.

Second, I may or may not have some relatives of some sort who collect Nazi memorabilia (along with other types of memorabilia). I have asked why they collect them. I have yet to hear an adequate explanation. I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. If they have racist paraphernalia at these shows, they won't get my money or any of my 120 armed employee's money.