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Old April 23, 2009, 01:22 PM   #1
Shorts
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Lautenberg "Closing te Gun Show Loophole"

http://lautenberg.senate.gov/newsroo...cfm?id=311723&


Newsroom: Press Releases

Press Release of Senator Lautenberg

Senators Join Shooting Victims and Family Members to Push for Closing of the Gun Show Loophole

Contact: Lautenberg Press Office (202) 224-3224
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) today joined Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and victims and family members of the Virginia Tech tragedy, to introduce legislation to close the nation’s “gun show loophole.” The bill introduction follows the tenth anniversary of the Columbine tragedy and the second anniversary of the tragedy at Virginia Tech this week. The legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

“There is no rational reason to oppose closing the loophole. The reason it’s still not closed is simple: the continuing power of the special interest gun lobby in Washington,” Sen. Lautenberg said. “My legislation would require background checks for every gun purchased at every gun show across America and would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Without this change in the law, anyone – from felons to terrorists to fugitives – can buy a gun at a gun show, no questions asked. That needs to change.”

The Senators’ bill would close the loophole by requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows. The bill defines a gun show as any event where 50 or more guns are offered or exhibited for sale. In addition, the bill would require:

* gun show promoters to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), maintain a list of vendors at all gun shows and ensure that all vendors acknowledge receipt of information about their legal obligations; and

* federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to submit information, including the manufacturer/importer, model and serial number of firearms transferred at gun shows to the ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC). No personal information about either the seller or the purchaser would be given to the ATF. Instead, as under current law, FFLs would maintain personal information in their files. The National Tracing Center would request personal information from an FFL only if a firearm becomes the subject of a law enforcement trace request.

“As someone who served in the Army, I have great respect for firearms and responsible gun ownership. The Gun Show Background Check Act is a responsible and common sense approach to preventing firearms from winding up in the hands of criminals and straw purchasers,” said Senator Jack Reed. “This legislation is critical to making our communities safer, which is why it is strongly supported by law enforcement officers nationwide. Passing this bill would help prevent the killing of innocent people, and it would do so without infringing on anyone’s right to own a gun.”

“We don’t need any more evidence that a gun in the hands of the wrong person is a real threat to our schools, our families, and our communities. Allowing sales at gun shows without identification, without accountability and without knowing whether the buyer is a felon or mentally ill, is unacceptable,” Senator Feinstein said. “This legislation proposes common sense protections that do not limit the rights of law abiding citizens to own and purchase guns.”

“Closing this long-standing, flagrant, irresponsible and increasingly dangerous loophole in federal gun laws will make gun show transactions safer for all our people, and it’s urgently needed. It makes absolutely no sense to tolerate this loophole that allows criminals and terrorists to buy guns at gun shows and avoid the minimal federal regulations that now exist. I commend Senator Lautenberg for introducing this bill, and I look forward to its enactment into law as soon as possible. Too many lives are in danger for Congress to delay any longer,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

“Ten years after two dangerous young men used gun show guns to kill and maim, it is way past time to extend the successful Brady background check system in America to gun sales at gun shows,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “There is no rational reason why as a nation we should not do this. I want to applaud Senator Frank Lautenberg for championing this bill to close the gun show loophole."

The victims and families of the Virginia Tech tragedy joining the members for the announcement included Omar Samaha, the brother of Reema Samaha, and his father Joe. Omar’s sister Reema was one of 32 victims who were shot and killed at Virginia Tech. Omar was recently followed by ABC News into a gun show where he was able to purchase ten guns, in under an hour, with no questions asked.

“My sister Reema was shot and killed at Virginia Tech because of a loophole with the background check system for gun purchases. Ever since April 16th I have been working to fix problems with America’s gun background check system – and the gun show loophole is the most outrageous gap. It’s time for Congress to step up and require background checks for all sales at guns shows,” Omar Samaha, the brother of Reema Samaha, said.

“A national law to close the gun show loop hole will prevent guns from falling into the hands of felons, domestic abusers and the mentally adjudicated. This piece of valuable legislation must be enacted to protect the citizens of this country,” Suzanne Grimes said. Suzanne is the mother of Virginia Tech survivor Kevin Sterne. An Eagle Scout, Kevin saved his own life by putting a tourniquet on himself to stop the bleeding after being shot in his femoral artery.

In 1993, the Brady Law was passed requiring prospective purchasers of guns sold by federal firearms licensees, like gun shops and pawn shops, to go through a background check. However, a loophole in current law allows people to purchase guns from unlicensed dealers at gun shows without going through a background check. The ATF reports that between 25 to 50 percent of firearm vendors at gun shows are unlicensed.

As a result of this loophole, convicted felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, the mentally ill and other people who are prohibited by federal law from owning guns are able to purchase firearms at gun shows. For example, the two teenagers who shot and killed 12 students and one teacher at Columbine High School in 1999 used guns obtained from gun shows.

In 1999, Sen. Lautenberg introduced the first bill in Congress to close the gun show loophole. Later that year, in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the Senate passed Sen. Lautenberg’s legislation to close the gun show loophole as an amendment to a juvenile justice bill. The legislation passed by one vote, with Vice President Gore casting the tiebreaking vote. However, the gun lobby killed the legislation in House-Senate conference.

# # #



GUN SHOW BACKGROUND CHECK ACT OF 2009 FACT SHEET

At thousands of gun shows every year, people are able to purchase firearms without going through a background check. Under the federal Brady Act, Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) are required to check the purchaser’s background with the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before transferring any firearm. However, a person does not need a federal firearms license—and the Brady Act does not apply—if the person is not “engaged in the business” of selling firearms pursuant to federal law. These non-licensees make up one quarter or more of the sellers of firearms at gun shows. Consequently, felons, the severely mentally ill, and other prohibited persons who want to avoid Brady Act checks and records of their purchases are able to buy firearms at gun shows. The Gun Show Background Check Act of 2009 will close this loophole in our federal gun laws.

The bill is virtually identical to the Lautenberg amendment passed by the Senate in the 106th Congress as part of the Juvenile Justice bill. The legislation would take several steps to make gun show transactions safer for all Americans:

* DEFINITION OF GUN SHOWS: Gun shows are defined to include any event at which 50 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale. This definition includes not only those events where firearms are the main commodity sold, but also other events where a significant number of guns are sold, such as flea markets or swap meets.

* GUN SHOW PROMOTERS: Gun show promoters would be required to register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), maintain a list of vendors at all gun shows, and ensure that all vendors acknowledge receipt of information about their legal obligations.

* BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR ALL TRANSACTIONS: The bill requires that all firearms sales at gun shows go through a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL). If a non-licensed person is selling a weapon, they would use an FFL at the gun show to complete the transaction. The FFL would be responsible for conducting a Brady check on the purchaser and maintaining records of the transaction.

* IMPROVED FIREARM TRACING: FFLs would be required to submit information including the manufacturer/importer, model, and serial number of firearms transferred at gun shows to the ATF’s National Tracing Center (NTC). However, no personal information about either the seller or the purchaser would be given to the ATF. Instead, as under current law, FFLs would maintain this information in their files. The NTC would request this personal information from an FFL only in the event that a firearm subsequently becomes the subject of a law enforcement trace request.

# # #
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Old April 23, 2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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Shorts, please post the bill # in the Watch-List thread. Just the related bill info.

Thanks.
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Old April 23, 2009, 02:01 PM   #3
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Done. Text not available as of today, but bill no. is posted

Quote:
The text of S.843 has not yet been received from GPO
Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from the Government Printing Office a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.
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Old April 26, 2009, 05:38 PM   #4
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Regulation + Registration = Revenue

Thank the next FFL dealer you see for the Lautenberg Bill, for they are the ones to blame. They are starting to smile down at your local GS, thinking of the new REVENUE at the gun shows.More info on this subject here http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=332507 orchidhunter

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Old April 26, 2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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Thank the next FFL dealer you see for the Lautenberg Bill, for they are the ones to blame. They are starting to smile down at your local GS, thinking of the new REVENUE at the gun shows.
It's all about the almighty dollar when you come down to reality of consumerism in America. Anything to protect the flow of capital even if it means a diminished state of Constitutional rights.

Sad but very true. Consumerism is the lifeblood of the American economy. That's why storage yards had to be invented.

Remember: YOU ALWAYS NEED MORE.
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Old April 27, 2009, 01:11 AM   #6
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Thank the next FFL dealer you see for the Lautenberg Bill, for they are the ones to blame. They are starting to smile down at your local GS, thinking of the new REVENUE at the gun shows.
That's a serious accusation, and it calls for proof. If a dealer is supporting a gun-control bill for the sake of short-term revenue, I'd like to know who they are so I can contact them personally. I'm in the business in the Southeast, and I have plenty of contacts.

If not, I'd ask you to reconsider that statement.

In regards to Lautenberg's bill, the number is S. 843, text here. It's a carbon copy of the same bill he floated last year, and previous years.

The list of co-sponsors is virtually the same, with one disturbing exception: Kirsten Gillibrand. I can only hope she's not buckling under pressure. She may see this as a "compromise" issue to assuage the left-leaning elements of her party.

Heck, don't forget that John McCain supported the idea as well. As for the actual "loophole" that's flooding our streets with guns?



"Arms bazaars for terrorists and criminals," huh?

Fortunately, the bill's never seen the floor, and I don't see much chance of it doing so this year. Still, Lautenberg's gotten a win before, and I don't relish the idea of him taking another.

We've won two major cases on the 2nd Amendment in the last ten months, and an Attorney General with a documented prejudice against our cause changed his tune to such an extent that he told Katie Couric he was looking forward to working with the NRA on "common sense" approaches.

In a hostile political climate, we're still holding our own (and then some), but I'm not resting on my laurels. The last thing I want is a turncoat in our own industry.
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Old April 27, 2009, 06:14 AM   #7
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The ATF reports that between 25 to 50 percent of firearm vendors at gun shows are unlicensed.
Is that accurate? I have been to a lot of gun shows around here, and seen a few private individuals selling guns, but nowhere near 1/4 of the vendors, let alone half. At some shows I have seen none at all. It is true that there are a lot of vendors selling other things that do not require a license, such as holsters, belts, memorabilia, books, etc. Given the other inaccuracies and distortions, it wouldn't surprise me if what the ATF really said was that 1/4 to 1/2 of the vendors, not firearms vendors, but just vendors at gun shows don't have a FFL.

Before I go on a wild google chase, does anyone know the actual source of this statistic and what they really said?
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Old April 27, 2009, 06:27 AM   #8
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I found the secret source. Anyone know what it says?

http://www.atf.treas.gov/pub/treas_pub/gun_show.pdf
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Old April 27, 2009, 07:23 AM   #9
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Tom, The Gunshows are just a big target that everybody can see. The real goal of the FFL dealers, is that all firearm sales must be thru a FFL dealer. orchidhunter
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Old April 27, 2009, 12:17 PM   #10
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Tom, The Gunshows are just a big target that everybody can see. The real goal of the FFL dealers, is that all firearm sales must be thru a FFL dealer. orchidhunter
I'll ask again. What FFL dealers? You're making a serious accusation, and I'd like some proof.

The plain fact is, in my neck of the woods, gun shows are not what they used to be. Dealers aren't getting MSRP (or anything close to that), and their margins are often in the single-digit percentages. Small vendors at gun shows can't compete with those prices on new guns, so the idea of getting a better price there is bunk the last few years.

Gun shows are mainly a good place to look for rare or unique firearms that weren't usually available through normal retail channels, but even that seems to have gone by the wayside to a large extent.

The gun shows no longer represent any sort of competitive "threat" to retailers, and they haven't since the late 1990's. Even if they did, I can't think of anyone I know in the business who wants stricter controls, since we all know that any infringement becomes a snowball effect.

Publius, I think the >20% statistic is bunk. There are lots of folks from law enforcement at gun shows, some as customers or vendors, some just keeping an eye out. It's not the friendliest atmosphere for shady dealings. Most of the "unlicensed" dealers I've seen are selling ammunition or non-firearm merchandise. Most of the private sales are not at tables, but among individuals who've brought a gun or two of their own to hopefully trade.

BTW, the link to the ATF site gets an "access denied" error. Can you summarize it?
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Old April 27, 2009, 06:26 PM   #11
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California Gun Show Sales: A Model for the Nation

California Gun Show Sales: A Model for the Nation

The gun lobby often argues that expanding current law to sales at gun shows will in effect ban gun shows. This argument has no basis in fact. FFLs selling at gun shows are already required to comply with the NICS check. And, in states like California, which have much stricter laws regulating both gun shows and private sales, gun shows still thrive. Under California law, every firearm sale, including those between private sellers, is subject to a background check conducted by a licensed dealer and the sale is also subject to the state's 10-day waiting period. The seller must wait for the full term of the waiting period to elapse before the weapon can be transferred to the buyer. This requirement has not had the effect of banning gun shows. orchidhunter
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Old April 27, 2009, 07:08 PM   #12
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Um...still not seeing names of dealers supposedly advocating stronger controls on gun shows. I'm guessing that's because there aren't any.

The article you posted doesn't prove anything. There's no attribution, so I'm guessing it's from an op-ed piece somewhere. In any case, it doesn't prove anything you've alleged.

Sure, if all transfers had to go through a dealer, I suppose he could make a few bucks on transfer fees. But that's a really time-consuming way to make a pretty small profit, and I reiterate: I've never heard of any dealer suggesting they'd want such a scenario.

What exactly is the point you're trying to make here?
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Old April 27, 2009, 07:17 PM   #13
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Tom, The California Model will close the gunshow loophole for good. I think you will like the California Model better than what is on it's way. orchidhunter

Last edited by orchidhunter; April 27, 2009 at 07:53 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old April 27, 2009, 07:30 PM   #14
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Tom, The Califorina Model will close the gunshow loophole for good. I think you will like the Califorina Model better than what is on it's way.
So, who are the gun dealers you accuse of supporting this? Hello? I'm getting lonely here...

As I mentioned, it didn't pick up any steam last year, and I doubt it will this year. Yeah, I've got it on the radar, but I'm not running around with my head on fire just yet.

Whatever incarnation of the "California model (notice spelling)" you're talking about, it's far from being a foregone conclusion.
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Old April 27, 2009, 08:42 PM   #15
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The ATF reports that between 25 to 50 percent of firearm vendors at gun shows are unlicensed.
Depends on your definition of "vendor."

If it's a guy at a table, I'd say it's less than 5%.

If a vendor is anyone walking around with a stick down a barrel, then I'd say it's at least 75% or more.

I think the antigunners have enough venom to pursue this on their own without some sort of unholy alliance with the FFL crowd.
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Old April 27, 2009, 08:43 PM   #16
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Orchidhunter, do you have any evidence to support your claims that FFL's are pushing for this legislation?
Quote:
California Gun Show Sales: A Model for the Nation

The gun lobby often argues that expanding current law to sales at gun shows will in effect ban gun shows. This argument has no basis in fact. FFLs selling at gun shows are already required to comply with the NICS check. And, in states like California, which have much stricter laws regulating both gun shows and private sales, gun shows still thrive. Under California law, every firearm sale, including those between private sellers, is subject to a background check conducted by a licensed dealer and the sale is also subject to the state's 10-day waiting period. The seller must wait for the full term of the waiting period to elapse before the weapon can be transferred to the buyer. This requirement has not had the effect of banning gun shows. orchidhunter
So what? What is your point?
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:59 AM   #17
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Tom, National Alliance of Stocking Gun Dealers: “Do something about the `gun shows.' Either shut them down or regulate them and restrict their activities to legal transactions in firearms. The Grand Bazaar approach that we now have ensures that every pugnacious child with a grudge to settle and every other form of human predator have easy access to all the firearms that they might desire, while the legitimate firearm owner is increasingly saddled with more and more onerous restrictions”. Bill Bridgewater, Executive Director of the National Alliance of Stocking Gun Dealers, in a 1993 letter to the House of Representatives Crime and Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
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Old April 28, 2009, 12:19 PM   #18
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I don't know a single FFL who is (or was ever) affiliated with NAGSD. In fact, I don't think they're even still around.

They did a great deal of ranting about how kitchen-table FFL's were a scourge on the industry back in the day. I always had a suspicion they were a VPC/Brady front, like the old "Real Gun Guys" blog, which was actually run by antis.

(Ownership of the domain expired, and someone with a more astute grasp of the 2A now owns it.)

Check the date on that there article. Fifteen years ago.

So, the only "proof" you can provide to support your allegation is based on a 1993 statement by an organization with no pull or relevance, with whom it's doubtful any extant FFL is affiliated.

Did you even research any of this stuff before you posted your accusations? You are utterly failing here.
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Old April 28, 2009, 09:03 PM   #19
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Remind me to explain sometime the thinking that will probably cause Americans to lose their guns... oh, nevermind, we're seeing the thinking every day here on TFL.

Instead of recognizing that it's the anti-gun 'usual suspects' pushing for their stated goals, the conclusion of which is "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in", we have people saying it's the gun dealers pushing for these restrictions. I posted once on this forum about clowns and bicycles. Dig up that post at your leisure. It has special relevance to the plight of Elmer Fudd, who someday wakes up to realize his "wabbit gun" has too many licensing restrictions attached to it.

I don't go to gun shows often, and there is no point in buying one of those new-fangled repeaters if I can't get any ammo for it, but I'll tell you what I have seen at the gun shows I have been to.

All the gun dealers I saw were FFL holders, judging from the forms they were making buyers fill out. There were possibly 2 or 3 guys walking around with beat up old Turkish mausers or front stuffers. I didn't see them carrying any forms.

So, you're going to tell us that Lautenberg's move was at the behest of FFL dealers who were miffed that they were losing sales to individuals? Not buying it.

Truly I cannot fathom what has happened here on TFL re: the thinking. It's like a person finds out someone has engineered a raw deal for him, and he can't deal with the thought, so he blames it on forest elves.
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:07 PM   #20
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Am I mistaken here? Orchidhunter appears to be the only one saying that FFL holders are pushing this. One person... Maybe 2, if you think cjw3cma wasn't being sarcastic.

That somehow morphs into the entire board thinking this way? I'm as baffled by your post as I am by orchidhunters posts.
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:26 PM   #21
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I'm as baffled by your post as I am by orchidhunters posts.
Count me baffled as well.

I did some asking around today about the NASGD, and nobody's heard a peep from them since 1994 or so. Everyone who recognized the name remembers them as an odd group that came out of nowhere and failed to attract any clout. Nobody can recall anyone in the industry belonging to this group.

It seems the "National Alliance" turned out to be a few guys writing letters from their basement. Compare to the American Hunters and Shooters Association. The Left does seed these groups, but they generally have no influence or effect, and their pronuciations carry no credibility.

At least I know I can blame my troubles on forest elves now. Never did trust those guys...
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:06 AM   #22
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Other Pro-gun Groups and Gun Industry Representatives On Record Supporting Background Checks At Gun Shows
Smith & Wesson: “Authorized dealers cannot sell at gun shows unless every seller at the gun show conducts background checks.” Company Statement of Policy March 17, 2000.



National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI): “[The] Industry supports background checks at gun shows provided the FBI does not maintain the names in violation of the law and the administration agrees to be more aggressive in prosecution of felons turned up by the background checks.” Robert T. Delfay, President and CEO, 1999.

American Shooting Sports Council, Inc. (ASSC): "The ASSC Board supports requiring all transfers of firearms at gun shows to be subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations currently applicable to federally licensed firearm dealers including the conducting of the instant background check on purchasers." Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting, November 21,1998. Board Members include: Glock,Inc., Smith & Wesson, Heckler & Koch and Taurus. orchidhunter
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:09 AM   #23
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So what? What is your point?
That's not his point, as he just pulled the quoted material off the VPC.org website and put his name on it.
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:31 AM   #24
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Depends on your definition of "vendor."

If it's a guy at a table, I'd say it's less than 5%.

If a vendor is anyone walking around with a stick down a barrel, then I'd say it's at least 75% or more.
+1. If people walking the aisles are counted, the statistic is IMHO unverifiable and essentially bogus. Nobody could possibly count the number of individual sellers accurately at the large shows in my area; there are simply too many people coming and going.

Unfortunately, since the statistic is unverifiable, many news sources will parrot it unchallenged.
Quote:
Other Pro-gun Groups and Gun Industry Representatives On Record Supporting Background Checks At Gun Shows
Smith & Wesson: “Authorized dealers cannot sell at gun shows unless every seller at the gun show conducts background checks.” Company Statement of Policy March 17, 2000.
"Authorized dealer" = a FFL selling new Smith & Wessons. They don't sell through unlicensed individuals. Of course they want their dealers to comply with the law!
Quote:
National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute (SAAMI): “[The] Industry supports background checks at gun shows...” Robert T. Delfay, President and CEO, 1999.
What was the context of this quote? Do you know the question that prompted this answer? Mr. Delfay may have been asked explicitly about dealers.
Quote:
American Shooting Sports Council, Inc. (ASSC): "The ASSC Board supports requiring... the conducting of the instant background check on purchasers." Minutes of the Board of Directors Meeting, November 21,1998. Board Members include: Glock,Inc., Smith & Wesson, Heckler & Koch and Taurus.
Those are manufacturers, not dealers. They don't sell their products through unlicensed individuals. They don't have a pony in this race. What do you think they're going to say?
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Old April 29, 2009, 09:32 AM   #25
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That somehow morphs into the entire board thinking this way? I'm as baffled by your post as I am by orchidhunters posts.
I didn't say the entire board thought this way.

I am suggesting this kind of thinking has become common. I don't know the term for it. Cognitive dissonance, perhaps?

Example.... import bans weren't the brainchild of the usual suspects, they were were floated by the American gun industry trying to keep down foreign competition (possible grain of truth to it, but jacked way out of proportion)

Example.... closing the gun show "loophole" was the idea of FFLs who are losing business to private sales, meanwhile let's ignore the fact that this has been one of the pet agendas of the antis for quite a while.

Example... when gun control groups get together at a UN-sponsored event to discuss plans to drastically reduce private gun ownership across the world, there's nothing to see there, and the UN isn't really interested in drastically reducing private gun ownership across the world. They accomplish nothing in particular, ignore what you see and read. But if you call for the UN's funding to be cut, you're a right wing extremist, because they do good work that the world needs.

Example... the run on ammo and anything gun-related you're seeing isn't because people are worried about a 500% tax on ammo, or related restrictions. The run on ammo etc is happening for no particular reason, because people are just silly, or their actions have no basis that anybody can think of.

Maybe you disagree with me, but my own observation is that there's a lot of this disconnected thinking on TFL lately. It is a little odd... I can pick up American Rifleman and see cohesive, cogent arguments, but to espouse those same positions on a gun board is somehow controversial.

If somebody can't identify what's happening and who is doing what in the way of gun control proposals, is that going to translate to keeping your rights? I somehow doubt it.

Quote:
Count me baffled as well.
I think my post is pretty self-explanatory. Either you agree that it's valid to blame a non-responsible party (FFL holders) or you disagree. I disagree.

Quote:
It seems the "National Alliance" turned out to be a few guys writing letters from their basement. Compare to the American Hunters and Shooters Association. The Left does seed these groups, but they generally have no influence or effect, and their pronuciations carry no credibility.
I hope you're right about their lack of influence or effect. They must have some faith in the tactic, since they continue to use it.

We have agreed to some constraints on discourse, one of which includes agreeing never to suggest that there could be trolls or shills on Internet message boards. If I were going to set up one of those "seeded groups", I would take this as a great go-ahead to start trolling message boards and creating a bogus "consensus".

Now, you and I may think that's immature and a waste of time, but then again I would call it immature and a waste of time to write television screenplays that so transparently propagandize against private gun ownership. Regardless of the value judgements we attach to it (or the script writer), it seems to work on some level.

A good indicator would be if the messages on a board started sounding increasingly like the VPC list of talking points, then I would start to wonder. For now, as for TFL I'm going to say it's a few gun people subconsciously buying into the antis' arguments. Political correctness at work? I don't know.

As usual, just my 2 cents.
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