WASHINGTON --- The House Judiciary Committee will host a forum next Wednesday on legislation to close the loophole that allows private sellers of firearms to bypass Brady background checks at gun shows. Such private sales without checks are a way for convicted felons or dangerously mentally ill persons to arm themselves.
A bill to close the gun show loophole, introduced by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Michael Castle (R-DE), has more than 100 cosponsors.
Law enforcement experts testifying include former Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Gerald Massengill and Jerry Nunziato former Director of the National Tracing Center of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireams & Explosives (ATF). Gun violence survivors testifying include Tom Mauser, whose son, Daniel, was killed at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999; Virginia Tech shooting victim Colin Goddard, who last year visited gun shows with a hidden camera to record transactions without background checks; and Kenny Barnes, a Washington, D.C. activist whose son was shot by a robber.
The Congressional Forum will be at 2 PM Wednesday, July 14, in Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The Brady Law requires criminal background checks of gun buyers at federally licensed gun dealers, but since unlicensed sellers are not required to do background checks, this loophole causes particular problems at gun shows which give these unlicensed sellers a guaranteed venue. In most states convicted felons, domestic violence abusers, and those who are dangerously mentally ill can walk into any gun show and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers, who operate week-to-week with no established place of business, without being stopped, no questions asked.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used two shotguns, an assault rifle and a TEC-9 assault pistol to shoot 26 students at Columbine, killing 13. All four guns came from gun show sales. Their friend, Robyn Anderson, bought three of the guns for them from unlicensed sellers at a gun show. After the massacre, Ms. Anderson stated that had she been required to undergo a background check, she would not have purchased the guns.
“Allowing dangerous people such as convicted felons and domestic abusers to buy guns at gun shows from unlicensed sellers without a Brady criminal background check threatens the safety of our families and communities,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.