February 06, 2013 - To the editor:
I would like to comment on the "gun show" loophole being addressed currently under the gun-control effort. I am not a "super expert" on the subject, but here is what I know.
From the letter in the Jan. 31 Call by William E. Kuhlmann: "Let's address the 'background checks' at gun shows. If the writer had done his research, he would have known that they already do background checks at gun shows."
The answer to this is yes and no. All licensed gun dealers at a gun show have a Federal Firearms License, or FFL. Mr. Kuhlmann indicated a previous writer has not done his research. Well, Mr. Kuhlmann, you have not done your research.
The following is quoted from Wikipedia under the topic "Federal Firearms License": "FFL holders are required to keep a registry of firearms sales in an ATF-approved Bound Book or a computerized equivalent using ATF-approved software. Licensed dealers must also maintain file copies of Form 4473 or eForm 4473 'Firearms Transaction Record' documents, for a period of not less than 20 years after the date of sale or disposition. When retiring or otherwise relinquishing a license, these records are sent to the BATFE's Out-of-Business Records Center. Licensed collectors are not required to send their records to the BATFE — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — when relinquishing their license.
"The ATF is allowed to inspect, as well as request a copy of the Form 4473 from the dealer during the course of a criminal investigation. In addition, the sale of two or more handguns to a person in a five business day period must be reported to ATF on Form 3310.4."
From Wikipedia: "The Form 4473 contains name, address, date of birth, government-issued photo ID, National Instant Criminal Background Check System — NICS — background check transaction number, make/model/serial number of the firearm, and a short federal affidavit stating that the purchaser is eligible to purchase firearms under federal law. Lying on this form is a felony and can be punished by up to five years in prison in addition to fines, even if the transaction is simply denied by the NICS, although prosecutions are rare in the absence of another felony committed with the gun purchased."
At a gun show, holders of a FFL license are required to do a background check and the buyer fills out a form 4473. The dealer then calls authorities, the NICS, for approval. There is nothing that stops a private, non-FFL individual from renting a table at a gun show and selling guns. He is not required to do a background check.
There are also individuals at gun shows that walk around with signs that offer to sell a gun. Most show promoters prohibit such a transaction inside the show area. Nothing stops someone from telling the seller, "Let's go outside. I may want to buy your gun."
According to the FBI, the NICS will be a national database containing records of persons who are disqualified from receiving firearms. The NICS computer and analysis center is in West Virginia, and the FBI is in charge of its operation. The NICS computerized system is designed to handle most checks in less than two minutes and roughly 150 transactions per minute. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.. Eastern Time, seven days a week, closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
One of the cities with the strictest gun laws is Chicago. But guns are finding their way into the city under so called "straw purchases." The guns are purchased by individuals who can pass the background check at gun dealers outside of Chicago — there are no licensed dealers in Chicago. These guns are then brought into the city where private sales take place or the buyer gives the gun to someone who has paid them to "go get me a gun."
So, it can be seen that there are loopholes that exist. These are the issues that are being addressed under control of loopholes in the system.