“We’ve got to do something” is a common refrain of the people who are supporting Nevada’s Proposition One; proposed legislation which would require background checks for all gun sales. This, they maintain, will close the “gun show loophole” and make it harder for bad people to get their hands on a gun. They justify their call with the claim there are 33,000 gun deaths a year nationwide, and the unspoken premise is writing a law to require background checks for all sales (except to family members) will reduce gun violence by that number.
The statistic is misleading, even dishonest. According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 21,000 of that 33,000 number are suicides (sadly, many are veterans) and another 2,000 result from gang violence. The number also includes people protecting their homes, and justified firearms death by law enforcement officers.
What is the so-called “gun show loophole?” People attending a gun show used to be able to purchase a firearm from one of the exhibitors without any background check. That’s no longer the case.
To buy a gun from one of the exhibitors at a gun show today you need a government-issued ID, like a driver’s license. The seller will call a number where a quick check is run of your ID against a federal database of people who can’t legally purchase a firearm. Only after that will he sell you a gun, and your vital statistics will be in his permanent record for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to access in future.
But there’s a loophole of sorts. People who attend gun shows frequently bring one or several personal guns they are hoping to sell to other attendees. These face-to-face sales are accomplished without the background check described above. This sort of transaction can be accomplished in any parking lot, or from your home, so it’s misleading to tie it to gun shows. But doing so adds to the sinister nature of the threat — gun owners are meeting at the Convention Center without any government control! Yes they are, and no mass shootings have taken place there. Ever. Despite all the guns available.
Do people who commit mass shootings buy their guns by cruising the parking lots of gun shows and buying from other people in attendance? No, based on information gathered by the FBI and other law enforcement resources. They buy guns legally from a gun store because they have not done anything that would flag them in the database created to prevent just such a purchase. Proposition One would not prevent any such abuse.
What about gang members — do they buy in or around gun shows? Again, not according to information collected by law enforcement. Their guns are usually stolen from legal gun owners. Proposition One would not change this situation at all.
So why are mega-rich political donors such as Michael Bloomberg and George Soros supporting efforts around the country (gun bills will appear on the November ballot in Nevada, Maine, California and Washington) to pass gun legislation at the state level? Because they have failed at the federal level.
Nevada’s Proposition One supporters rely on large donations from outside the state to do what can’t be done nation-wide. Gun control is about control, not guns. The “something” they propose is a futile gesture. Supporters are being duped by Bloomberg and Soros for their own controlling ends. The “expanded background checks” would change nothing at gun shows or elsewhere. Firearms deaths would not be reduced.
Vote NO on Proposition One.
Fred LaSor lives in Minden and follows political developments from there.