2009 Gun Show Prevention Act

I had actually heard about this bill already but Google News Alerts pointed me to the full text of it in this blog entry while surfing this morning.

I was skimming through it when something jumped out at me. I wanted to make sure that the blog entry was accurate so I looked up the bill on the Library of Congress site as well.

The gun banners like to say that they aren’t REALLY trying to end gun shows as we know them, that all they want is the “common sense” measure of requiring background checks for all sales at them right?

Well, here’s what jumped out and bit me in this proposed legislation:

(b) Definitions- Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(37) Gun Show Vendor- The term `gun show vendor’ means a person who is not licensed under section 923 and who exhibits, sells, offers for sale, transfers, or exchanges a firearm at a gun show, regardless of whether or not the person arranges with the gun show operator for a fixed location from which to exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange the firearm.

So, basically, anyone who shows up with a gun for sale is a “gun show vendor”. That, in itself, is not terribly egregious, I mean, it’s just semantics right?

Wrong.

(b) Responsibilities of Gun Show Operators-

    (1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for a person to operate a gun show, unless the person–
      (A) not later than 30 days before the commencement of the gun show, notifies the Attorney General, in writing, of the date, time, duration, and location of the gun show, and the identity of each person who will be a gun show vendor at the gun show;

    So…everyone who shows up at a gun show with a gun to sell is a “vendor”, and all “vendors” have to be identified by name 30 days in advance.

    The gun show operator has to identify people whom he has no way of knowing will show up, 30 days in advance? How, exactly, is that supposed to work?

    If passing laws that are impossible to follow isn’t a round-about way of eliminating gun shows, I don’t know what is.

    There are other ridiculous requirements as well…for example all gun show operators have to be background checked, fingerprinted, registered and licensed (with a fee “to be determined by the Attorney General” of course) before conducting gun shows. Doesn’t matter that the operator’s only function is to provide the location and organization of the event and is not required to be an FFL because they don’t sell any guns.

    Operators will be required to maintain a “ledger” containing the personal information of anyone attending the gun show will fits the definition of “vendor”.

    Etc.

    And the fact remains that this proposed law could be skirted by simply going across the street to complete a sale without a background check perfectly legally.

    I realize that this bill has little chance of even getting out of committee, let alone passing…I’m not trying to be a scare monger. It just struck me as I was skimming the text, exactly how egregious this would be should it pass.

    It would for all intents and purposes, the protests of innocence of its proponents notwithstanding, outlaw the private sale of firearms at gun shows…which would basically kill gun shows outright.

    4 thoughts on “2009 Gun Show Prevention Act

    1. It just goes to show how important it is for our lawmakers to actually READ the freakin' bills before they vote on them.

      And since they apparently can't handle that chore on their own, it's important for US to read them. Then we can point out the objectionable bits to them in words small enough for them to understand.

      Nice catch, btw. I don't think it'll pass either – but the time to notice these things is before its too late.

    2. Actually, it's worse than you state. The definition of a gun show vendor includes those who "transfer" or "exchange" a firearm. These terms include not only selling, but also buying, bartering, and donating. So, if you meet up with a friend to trade pistols, that makes you both "vendors".

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