Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gun show dealers caught on video selling to people who tell them they'd fail a background check

-- by Dave

Right-wingers have been having fun in recent weeks with the ACORN "gotcha" videos supposedly showing community organizers indulging in illicit behavior. But they're about to discover that the undercover video can be a two-edged sword.

Over the past year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been sending out private investigators to gun shows around the country, focusing on locales where NYPD and other local law enforcement are seeing guns arriving from. And what they showed was incredibly revealing.

It shows the dirty little secret that everyone who attends gun shows with any kind of discerning eye can tell you: There are a lot of illegitimate transactions taking place at them -- and particularly a lot of sales of guns to people who could never pass a background check.

The videos are now available for public viewing. We've provided a couple of them here, but go see the full set of them -- along with the accompanying report -- visit the website Gun Show Undercover.

There seems to be some confusion whether they're watching something illegal. They are. As the mayor's office explained in its press release:

Even though private unlicensed sellers are not required to run background checks using the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check system, it is a federal felony for them to sell guns to people they have reason to believe are prohibited purchasers (such as felons or the mentally ill). In purchases attempted on 30 private sellers, the undercover investigator showed interest in buying a gun by asking about stopping power or by dry-firing the weapon. After agreeing on a price, the undercover would indicate that he probably couldn’t pass a background check. At that point, the seller is required by law to refuse the sale – but only 11 out of 30 sellers did so. Investigators found private dealers who failed these integrity tests at every show, including two sellers who failed at multiple shows. In total, 19 of the 30 private sellers approached failed the integrity test.

The 11 sellers who terminated the sale confirmed that private sellers know the law. As one seller in Columbus, Ohio, explained “I mean even as a private citizen, I’m kind of allowed a certain latitude, but once you say that [you can’t pass the background check], I’m kind of obligated not to….I think that’s what the rules are.”

The investigation also revealed that some private sellers are in fact apparently “engaged in the business” of selling firearms without a federal license, in violation of the law. For example, one seller sold to investigators at three different gun shows and acknowledged selling 348 assault rifles in less than one year.

So when you see characters like this, you're seeing the kind of people who willingly, knowingly, and intentionally flout the law because there's no way -- outside of investigations like this -- they'll ever get caught:

"I don't need your address."

"No background check?"

"Nothing. Just show me that you're from Ohio."

"That's good about the background check because I probably couldn’t pass one."

"I don't care. All's I got to do is demand you show me your license."

"You don’t care about the background check, right?"

"Nope. Nope. I wouldn't pass either, bud." [grin]

The NRA likes to claim that "the gun show loophole is a myth." These videos -- and the broader results of the investigation -- pretty definitively demonstrate that it does indeed exist.

Americans For Gun Safety has a complete rundown on the gun-show loophole and why it needs to be closed.

The NRA and its enablers will claim this is a radical-left agenda item. But the legislation to close this loophole is sponsored by those radical leftists John McCain and Joe Lieberman. The office conducting this investigation is the Republican New York Mayor's. That's some radical left agenda indeed.

Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.

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