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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lynchburg Paper Gets it Wrong on Gun Shows

The Lycnhburg News and Advance today published an editorial titled Time Has Come to Close Gun Show Loophole. Reading the editorial is like reading Brady Campaign Talking Points. Can you find them?

Those shows amount to open-air bazaars where licensed gun dealers set up their booths next to tables presided over by private gun dealers. The difference between the two? State and federal laws require the licensed gun dealer to run a background check on those who purchase their wares to ensure that they are not convicted felons or have a record of mental illness. The private gun dealer does not have to run such a background check.
If you said the first and last sentence, you would be correct. Note the terms "open-air basaars" and "private gun dealer." These are staples of the gun ban lobby's lingo and both are false.

Here is another one:

Why is closing the loophole even important? Because the gun shows provide access to weapons for convicted felons and those with a history of mental illness that they would not otherwise be allowed to buy.
Several federal studies have shown that gun shows are not a source of guns for criminals. One would think the paper's fact checkers would at least to a little homework before using such tired rhetoric. But it gets worse - they now add the Brady talking point about the Virginia Tech shooting.

The issue has arisen several times in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007. Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people before turning a gun on himself, was able to pass a weapons background check and buy two guns from a licensed dealer despite having been deemed mentally defective by a Virginia court.

...But even if that order had been in place before the Virginia Tech shootings, it would not have prevented Cho from acquiring guns by other means that require no background checks.
First, the reason Cho passed the background check is because the court screwed up. Because of the error, his name was not added to the list of prohibited buyers. Making the stretch that he would have then turned to gun shows is almost comical given we know that he shunned contact with people. Second, if we follow the logic of the gun ban lobby, that gun shows are made up of tables upon tables of "unlicensed dealers" selling their wares, you would have to believe that Cho would have walked up to a table not knowing whether the table was operated by an FFL or a private individual, specifically ask if he had to undergo a background check and then make a purchase. If he had the misfortune of walking up to an FFL and asked the question, it would likely have raised red flags for the dealer.

Gun owners need to call their legislators and urge them to oppose Senator Marsh's bill (SB1257). You can find contact information here.

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