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Gun Show Loophole: A Problem from Coast to Coast

Yesterday on the East Coast, there was a good op-ed in the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald explaining the problem of the gun show loophole, how it affects the state negatively, and the painless solution to the loophole:

Far too many guns are sold in Maine through unregulated channels, which makes it easy for felons and other criminals to buy any gun immediately, no questions asked.  Maine is the No. 1 supplier of crime guns to Massachusetts. Maine’s lax gun laws attract drug dealers to Maine, where they can both sell drugs and buy guns, often with drugs as the currency. Maine’s high rates of teenage suicide and domestic violence are made worse by easy access to guns. Maine has a gun problem. Major improvement of Maine’s gun laws would be simple, common-sensical and economical... Background checks for all gun transfers would do that, and only that – it would not deprive anyone of the right to buy or own a gun, it would only make sure that anyone buying a gun was not buying it in violation of existing law. Period.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on several unscrupulous private sellers who take advantage of the gun show loophole for their personal monetary gain:

According to recently unsealed court documents, federal agents last month conducted a series of stings against four men thought to be illegally dealing firearms at Western Washington gun shows. Court documents suggest that several of the men were sold hundreds of firearms without reporting the sales to authorities or conducting background checks.

One of these suspects is believed to have sold a gun later used to murder a police officer:

He is alleged to have sold the gun used to kill Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton and wound Officer Britt Sweeney in October of 2009.

Another suspect sold guns to an undercover ATF agent – even after the agent indicated he was going to resell the gun to gang members.  The gun dealer was  “unconcerned”, explaining his real motive:

“I buy them and then sell them,” the Bremerton man allegedly told ATF agents. “It’s all about the money.”

Learn more about the gun show loophole.


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