Letter to the Editor

A couple of days ago, the Richmond Times Dispatch published this “news” item.

It seems that the “head” of the VA Tech Review Panel recommended implementing NICS checks on private firearm sales at gun shows. You see, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech murders didn’t get his guns that way and so instituting such checks will prevent similar incidents in the future…or something.

Anyway, that article presented a target rich environment for LTE subjects, but I wanted to narrow it down to one thing so that I could keep my letter short enough that there might be some possibility of it getting published.

Well, it’s been a couple of days now and no one has called to verify my authorship so I feel it’s safe to assume that my letter didn’t make the cut. I guess I’ll just have to bypass the editorial staff of the RTD and publish it here:

The term “dealer” with regard to firearms sales has a specific legal definition (see Title 18, US Code, Chapter 44, ยง 921 (a)(11)). Private sales do not fit that definition. If an individual fits the legal definition of “dealer”, yet is not licensed, they are committing a federal felony. Therefore, the term you insist upon using to describe Uncle Buck selling his 20 year old hunting rifle to another private citizen at a gun show, in his living room, or in the parking lot of the local Police station, is misleading and inaccurate. I find it difficult to believe that the use of such an artificial and contrived term is accidental. Or do you typically refer to private citizens selling their personal automobiles as “unlicensed car dealers?” There is a word for using terminology designed specifically to evoke a misleading perception or leave a false impression…and it’s not “journalism.”

Oh well. Maybe next time.

ps. I also sent a copy of this LTE to the author of the article. I have yet to hear back from him either. Not surprising, but noteworthy. Perhaps I’ll send him a link to this post.

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