Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Private gun sales can end up in the wrong hands

If you have been reading my blog, you certainly know my position on requiring background checks on all gun sales at gun shows. Some of you find that an intrusion on your rights. Some of you don't want to be inconvenienced. Some of you have argued about the details of how it would work for private sellers to get those background checks from Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers. There was a long exchange about the technicalities of this one between several commenters. If you read this article about trying to trace a crime gun in Ohio, you will know why it is important for law enforcement agencies to be able to do so. If crime guns can be traced, criminals can be caught and held responsible for the crime. That is what the gun rights folks want. They have proclaimed on my blog comments that they want to make sure those criminals are behind bars and kept there. If we can't find out who they are because they bought their guns from private sellers where they didn't have to undergo a background check, then we have a problem.

Here is an article about an Arizona gun show attended by a reporter who wrote about how easy it is for anyone to buy guns without background checks from private sellers. This, of course, is not the first such report about gun shows and the many private sellers who are not required to run background checks on the buyers. Some of them may actually believe that those who purchase their guns are law abiding and intend nothing evil with the guns. But the fact is that, in many of the articles and videos about gun shows, the sellers make statements that indicate otherwise. Why would this private seller, from the linked article above say this? " “These are from a private seller,” he says without prompting as soon as I approach his table of semi-automatic assault rifles and pistols. “So, there is no paperwork required.”
“How many can I buy?” I ask him. He scans the table of about a dozen firearms. “How many are there?” he replies. " 


If the reporter actually purchased all of the pistols and assault rifles on the table, one would assume that a felon, domestic abuser, someone adjudicated mentally ill, a terrorist or others on the prohibited purchaser NICS list could do the same. Those "pesky" background checks are not to keep law abiding citizens from buying a gun. They are also not meant to go after people's personal gun collections. They are not a system of registration. Since many gun owners buy guns from licensed dealers, I don't know why it would be a problem to do the same with a private seller. Licensed dealers are doing very well with gun sales. There must be a lot of people unafraid to undergo background checks.

12 comments:

  1. Gun shows are a bit creepy at times. In my life I've had to undergo so many background checks, I don't really mind it.

    Honestly, for used firearms, I find better deals at estate sales or classified ads. The only formality I insist on in those cases is a bill of sale. Each party gets a receipt, with the date transferred, serial # of the weapon and some minimal personal info used to ID each party.

    That protects the seller in the event the buyer uses the gun in a future crime. It also protects the buyer in the event the seller previously used the gun in a past crime.

    That's right the thing to do, and I would refuse to deal with any person unwillingly to do that.

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  2. You say it's important to require "background checks on all gun sales at gun shows". Is it really just gun shows you're concerned with? If so, then that seems like a gaping "loophole". If no, then why don't you instead call it something like the "private transfer loophole"? Why all the obfuscation?

    In other words, what is your true goal: to require background checks at gun shows, or for all private transfers period?

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  3. I've actually answered that many times before, Nate. I'll leave the research to you.

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  4. Isn't it amazing that when guns are as heavily regulated as they are now, gun violence has gone up? When John (or Jill) public could get a pistol for 7 fill ups of gas, not so much.

    Isn't it also ironic that almost 50 years after the assassination of John F Kennedy, by a card-carrying ACLU member no less! That you can still Mail Order a Mannlicher Carcano Rifle?

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  5. What's your point, John B.? I think I missed something.

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  6. My point is that guns don't kill people. If they do, then I own about a half dozen broken ones. Though they DO make nice, accurate holes in paper targets. Some of them do this on a twice-weekly basis. I do feel bad for what happened to your sister, but I do not volunteer to join her. I would have last November if there had been no guns available to me. I have a concealed weapon permit. Until that incident I had not carried regularly. Now I carry at all times. My life is mine, not some bargaining chip for an amoral politician. I resent your obtuse indifference to the real point. People are not killed by guns. They are killed by people. Sometimes with guns, sometimes with other means. A person, not a gun, killed your sister.

    How would you feel toward your sister if she was standing over the body of her killer with her own gun?

    I don't know why I bother, you already proved you'll toss anyone who shows an opposing viewpoint.

    I haven't met an honest anti gun proponent yet!

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  7. I published this from John B. only because it is a prime example of the nonsensical discourse on my blog. I don't think you sorry about my sister's death. You don't know me. You don't the circumstances of her death. A gun, indeed, killed my sister. What's the bit about "amoral politicians"? What does that have to do with anything I have been blogging about? As for my sister standing over the body of her killer with her own gun- wow! As I said, you don't know the circumstances and you must imagine yourself with your gun killing someone and being able to do so in any circumstance. That's not reality. Even police officers can't always accurately defend themselves from shooters and they are trained to do so. I resent your obtuse indifference to the real point.

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  8. I believe private gun sales should be outlawed nationwide. All gun transfers (and sales) should go through an FFL for a modest amount of money and background checks should be done everytime.

    This would help create jobs we sorely need in this country and it would make it harder for criminals and crazies to buy guns.

    It's really easy for the authorities to police this type of thing. All they have to do is start buying from everyone trying to sell illegally. This has worked in California and it would work across the rest of the country too.

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  9. "If we can't find out who they are because they bought their guns from private sellers where they didn't have to undergo a background check, then we have a problem."

    Here's where the disconnect is. You are not asking for a background check, you are asking for gun registration.

    The NICS (National Instant Check System) does not keep records of who is checked. By law the info on checks has to be purged within 24 hours. This is specifically to prevent some sort of back door registration. If the cops, FBI, or anyone else with access to the data could compile a list of all gun owners and what they own, then we have a registry.

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  10. If this fellow is selling a dozen guns as a private seller, he's already breaking the law by operating as an unlicensed gun dealer (the ATF has been rather coy about setting a hard number on how many guns you can sell without an FFL, but they've prosecuted people for selling less than a dozen).

    "semi-automatic assault rifles"

    No such thing. An assault rifle, by definition, is fully automatic.

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  11. "I believe private gun sales should be outlawed nationwide. All gun transfers (and sales) should go through an FFL for a modest amount of money and background checks should be done everytime"

    If you can figure out a way to do that, while ensuring that no level of government has any idea who owns guns, or what guns they own, I'll be willing to discuss it.

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  12. "If this fellow is selling a dozen guns as a private seller, he's already breaking the law by operating as an unlicensed gun dealer"

    No, he has to meet the black letter law of being "Engaged in the business" of selling firearms. Here's a link to the law itself.

    http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5300-4.pdf

    the key part is on page 6

    with the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms,

    If he isn't making his living as a gun seller, he isn't breaking the law. Assuming I had 100 guns (i don't) and I wanted to sell them all, I could do that.

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