New Brady Campaign Report Shows Danger of Gun Shows

| by Brady Campaign

Washington, D.C. - A new report on gun shows in the U.S., the result of more than three years of intensive research including visits to some 78 gun shows in 19 states, provides a compelling look at these events and a factual primer on why lax regulations on firearms sales at shows in many states are a problem.

The 300-plus page report, “Inside Gun Shows: What Goes On When Everybody Thinks Nobody’s Watching,” was researched and written by Dr. Garen Wintemute of the University of California at Davis School of Medicine. It is the most in-depth look into gun shows ever published. It includes hundreds of photographs from the gun shows that were visited.

“Reading this report makes it even clearer that we need to close the loophole that allows the sales of firearms without Brady background checks, including unlicensed sales at gun shows,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. “Dr. Wintemute’s work should be required reading for members of Congress, who should extend Brady background checks to all gun sales, including all sales at gun shows.”

The report describes many gun shows as places featuring widespread sale of assault rifles like AK-47s with no questions asked, illegal business tactics by federally licensed gun dealers, illegal sales of firearms conducted out in the open, spotty to weak oversight by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and rampant straw purchasing.

For details on the report or for information on obtaining a copy, visit

Earlier this year, bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate, by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and in the U.S. House, by Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Congressman Mike Castle (R-DE), to close the gun show loophole. “There’s no arguing with the fact that gun shows feed dangerous weapons to dangerous people,” Helmke said. “We should require criminal background checks on every gun sale - and we can start with unlicensed sales at gun shows.”

The report’s findings also point out the need for ATF to better scrutinize potentially illegal sales at gun shows by licensed dealers and ensure enforcement of federal gun laws. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence continues to work with Congress and the Obama Administration to advocate for more authority, resources and oversight of federally licensed gun dealers by the ATF.