Pinellas County, Florida to Enforce Background Checks at Gun Shows

| by Michael Allen
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Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties, located in Florida, have local laws that require background checks for all sales at gun shows.

However, those laws have been largely ignored, reported the Tampa Bay Times last month.

In response, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced on Tuesday that his officers would enforce the gun background check law for all customers at gun shows in the county.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Sheriff Gualtieri said that his sheriff's deputies will monitor upcoming gun shows either in uniform or undercover.

"We're going to make sure the ordinance is enforced," said Sheriff Gualtieri. "The last thing in the world that I want to see, and I hope anyone wants to see, is a firearm fall into the hands of a person who's prohibited by law from possessing one."

On Monday, Sheriff Gualtieri sent a letter to Guy Lemakos, an organizer of a gun show this weekend in Largo, to remind him of the law.

Lemakos plans to reluctantly perform gun background checks on behalf of the 25 private sellers at the show, which will include 120 vendors.

"I'll do what I have to do, but I'm uncomfortable with it, because I'm not a cop," said Lemakos. "It's not the responsibility of a gun show owner to enforce the law."

However, there are many laws that are the responsibility of private citizens to enforce, such as not selling tobacco products or alcohol to minors.

"I commend the sheriff for really taking a proactive stance on this once the information came out," said Pinellas County Commission Chairman Ken Welch. "It's not a cure-all, but it is addressing a loophole in the law. I think it's just another step to have reasonable laws for gun safety."

Source: Tampa Bay Times