I would agree that gun shows are not the problem.
Why can't they institute a simple fee (most sheriff's offices will run a background check for free but $2-$5 wouldn't be unreasonable) to run a back-ground check for individuals who want to buy? Get a dated receipt (have it good for 90 days or whatever) and signed/stamped by a local LEO or court-house; and then allow buyers to show that for any private, local purchase for the deal.
Some dealers charge outrageous fees for transfers but what’s to say fees can’t be forced upward of $100 or a large percent of the sale? Most agree $15-25 is reasonable, but that could be regulated to point of forcing sales back in the alleys. I have my local dealer do many transactions for me, but that is because they are shipped from out-of-state and his fees are reasonable. And vice-versa, I ship only to FFL dealers when I sell out of state. It’s always been “buyer-beware” and should remain that way. I would never purposely sell a firearm to a criminal, but if a local buyer showed a receipt where they ran a background check on themselves it would give me peace-of-mind.
Of course, that doesn't meet the need to track the gun, record addresses or document the transaction. That's the sticking point...it gives up control. NICS could be instituted the same way, just available for private citizens to ensure they are selling to someone who shouldn't have one. Does it stop straw-purchases? Nope, but that's already illegal for the purchaser and is what should be prosecuted as severely as any criminal owning or using a firearm in the act of a crime.
I just get sick of all the attention on the firearm (or accessories) and the complete lack of focus on the criminal or those that knowingly facilitate criminal activity.