Will the White House Ban Private Gun Sales?

Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2:00 PM

Vice President Joe Biden is about to start his meeting with the National Rifle Association at the White House but hinted to reporters earlier today that "closing the gun show loophole" or banning the private sale of guns between citizens without a Federal Firearms license, is on the table.

Here's some information about the gunshow loophole myth:

The Myth of “Unlicensed Dealers”

• Under current federal law, it is illegal to “engage in the business” of “dealing in firearms” without a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “Engaged in the business” means buying and selling firearms as a regular business with the objective of profit. Violations carry a five year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

• A licensed dealer may do business temporarily at a gun show, just as he could at his permanent licensed premises. Every legal requirement applies equally at both types of location, including background checks and record keeping on all transactions.

• People who “engage in the business” without a license can be arrested and convicted of a federal felony—whether they “engage in business” at a gun show, or out of a home, office, or vehicle.

Gun Shows Are Not a Source of “Crime Guns”

• A 2006 FBI study of criminals who attacked law enforcement officers found that within their sample, “None of the [attackers’] rifles, shotguns, or handguns … were obtained from gun shows or related activities.” Ninety-seven percent of guns in the study were obtained illegally, and the assailants interviewed had nothing but contempt for gun laws. As one offender put it, “[T]he 8,000 new gun laws would have made absolutely [no difference], whatsoever, about me getting a gun. … I never went into a gun store or to a gun show or to a pawn shop or anyplace else where firearms are legally bought and sold.”

• A Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report on “Firearms Use by Offenders” found that fewer than 1% of U.S. “crime guns” came from gun shows, with repeat offenders even less likely than first-timers to buy guns from any retail source. This 2001 study was based on interviews with 18,000 state prison inmates and is the largest such study ever conducted by the government.

• Previous federal studies have found few criminals using gun shows. A 2000 BJS study, “Federal Firearms Offenders, 1992-98,” found only 1.7% of federal prison inmates obtained their gun from a gun show. Similarly, a 1997 National Institute of Justice study reported less than 2% of criminals’ guns come from gun shows.

In addition to the NRA, Biden will meet with Walmart, Cabela's and other big name firearms dealers.