Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gun Shows and Private Gun Sales

A study from researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland has found "no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun homicides or suicides. In addition, tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearm-related deaths."

The study, "The Effect of Gun Shows on Gun-Related Deaths: Evidence from California and Texas" compared gun deaths between 1994-2004 in two states with large numbers of gun shows annually: California, which has the greatest restrictions on gun shows, and Texas, which has none. These results confirm those in a similar a study for Utah done by Dr. JK Lyon several years ago.

Gun shows are innocuous since potential criminals can acquire guns quite easily through other black market sales or theft. I oppose any effort to impose background checks on private firearms transactions simply because they happen to occur at gun shows. Gun dealers are already required to conduct background checks on buyers, whether at his store or in a gun show.

One gun-control organization falsely claims that "25-50 percent of the vendors at most gun shows are unlicensed dealers." This statistic is true only if one counts vendors who aren't selling guns (e.g., vendors who are selling books, clothing, or accessories) as "unlicensed dealers." Gun-control advocates claim there is a gun-show loophole which allegedly allows criminals to buy guns at gun shows. Congresswoman Diana DeGette dishonestly says that 70% of crime guns come from gun shows. However, multiple government studies prove gun shows are not a source of "crime guns" -- that less than 2% of criminal guns came from gun shows.

The fact is that it already is unlawful to transfer a firearm to prohibited persons such as criminals and the mentally-ill. Any new laws that would impose background checks on private sales, whether at a gun show or anywhere else will increase the already bloated bureaucracy and will create new prohibitions that will result in ever more innocent persons inadvertently violating these new laws!

There are few places on earth that are safer than a gun show attended by hundreds or thousands of gun owners and gun venders.

Since gun shows take place entirely within the boundaries of a single state, Congress has no legitimate constitutional basis (including its "interstate commerce" power) to attempt to control gun shows. We already have over 22,000 local, state and federal gun-control laws in this nation. None of them have been shown to be effective in controlling violent crime to any extent whatsoever. Enough is enough! All politicians must oppose any attempt to regulate private transfers of firearms between law-abiding persons.

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