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In the aftermath of mass murders in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO, and Clackamas County, OR, several sensible ideas have become topics of public discussion: banning the sale of assualt weapons, banning the sale and ownership of clips that hold more than five bullets, and banning sales of guns to purchasers who have not had a background check.

It's the last of these ideas that I'm writing about here. It's about what's commonly referred to as the "gun show loophole". Although background checks are required for retail sales of guns, they are not required at gun shows.

This obviously makes it easy for convicted felons and mentally ill people to purchase guns. However, another class of people that takes advantage of this are Mexico's narco-terrorists. They simply hire people to purchase assault weapons at these guns shows (usually in Texas and Arizona) for them, then transport them into Mexico.

According to a report issued by the US General Accounting Office in 2009, "While it is impossible to know how many firearms are illegally smuggled into Mexico in a given year, about 87 percent of firearms seized by Mexican authorities and traced in the last 5 years originated in the United States, according to data from Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to U.S. and Mexican government officials, these firearms have been increasingly more powerful and lethal in recent years. Many of these firearms come from gun shops and gun shows in Southwest border states."

Current TV aired an expose on this, the Vanguard documentary Arming the Mexican Cartels by Christof Putzel.

For the mostly peaceful people of Mexico, this is a tragedy. The number of deaths from the civil war that has been going on in Mexico over the past six years has been at least 57,500, and estimates run as high as 100,000. The parents, children, brothers, sisters, and friends of the people who have been killed are just as unhappy about it as the parents, brothers, sisters, and friends of the of the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The high-paid employees and the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association have blood on their hands. Put a stop to unlicensed gun sales in the US, and Mexicans will benefit, too.

This article can also be found here

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Comment Preferences

  •  Check the tip jar on this one . (3+ / 0-)

    ...but there is no loophole. What we are dealing with is that the Federal Government doesn’t regulate the transfer of private property between individuals regardless of the nature of the property. To allow the government to do so would be unprecedented and unwise.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:37:50 AM PST

    •  Not true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick, BachFan

      The Federal Government certainly does regulate the transfer of certain types of private property. Television and radio stations, to give two examples, and motor vehicles regulated by DOT, to give another.

      And regulating the transfer of guns between individuals would be wise, not unwise.

      •  You are agreeing with me (0+ / 0-)

        by saying "not true" ?

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:32:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are you disagreeing with the diarist quoted? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roberb7, BachFan

        I agree, the diarist quoted is in error re sale of private property. All vehicle sales are seen by govt and registered because title. Real estate too.

        I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
        NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
        Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

        by OleHippieChick on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:55:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I am disagreeing with the diarist quoted (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, OleHippieChick

          As "OleHippieChick" pointed out, governments regulate all sorts of sales of private property. The diarist was being cute by using the "Federal" qualifier.

          This is just another example of what the gun nuts do all the time; invent "facts" that prey on anti-government paranoia.

  •  never been to a gun show (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and don't plan on it. seems to me that closing this giant loophole is the 'responsibility' thing that goes along with the 'right' to bear arms.

    i'm sure there are many exceptions, but the few people i know that are 'gun collectors' are much more right wing freaks than hunters.

    there are some of us who abhor violence but still want the opportunity to fill our freezer with untainted meat. and i feel the gun show loophole is  a threat to that.

    why would i want some crazy bastard or criminal wreaking havoc with firearms obtained from a shady source, with the end result being that some of my fellow citizens thinking that all or most guns should be banned?

    also, i hope that during the course of this debate people will come to realize that lobbyists of all stripes are the cause of much heartache in our country.

    Granny Storm Crow's MMJ Reference List-686 pages of hyperlinks in PDF format Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift and that's why it's called "The Present".

    by elkhunter on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:48:05 AM PST

  •  Most of the sellers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MGross, theboz, KenBee

    at gun shows are federally licensed dealers, who are required by federal law to run background checks on all buyers, whether at a show or in a brick and mortar store. When sales take place between private individuals, whether at a gun show or at a private residence, there is no requirement for a background check. That's the "loophole".

    Of course, it would be trivially easy to require all buyers to pass an NICS check at shows--the FFLs in attendance could easily run checks for everyone at the show who wants to purchase a gun.

    A 1997 U.S. Justice Department survey of 14,285 state prison inmates found that among those inmates who carried a firearm during the offense for which they were sent to jail, 0.7% obtained the firearm at a gun show, 1% at a flea market, 3.8% from a pawn shop, 8.3% from a retail store, 39.2% through an illegal/street source, and 39.6% through family or friends. Link.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:55:20 AM PST

  •  Number Two has got to go. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Guns have fulfilled their historical purpose.  Time to leave them behind.  We did it with slavery, mostly.  We got rid of all sorts of Constitutional problems regarding denial of voting rights to women, etc.  We undid the Prohibition amendment.  When the Constitution was framed, I'm sure there were people who were sad to see the demise of "cruel and unusual punishment."  Things change.  Time to get our act together on this.  

    It took 203 years to pass the 27th amendment.  It's time to pass #28, and this time not have to wait so long.  

  •  There is no "gun show loophole", its NRA Agitprop (6+ / 0-)

    It isn't a gun show loophole. The NRA just puts that out there as a red herring for us to focus on, just like an Assault Weapons Ban.

    See, if we do ban private sales at gun shows, people will simply move to the parking lot across the street.

    What we need is a Private Sale ban. Make every transaction go through an FFL with a background check. But even that is totally unenforceable at present. We can't reliably stop a guy going into someone's house with a fistful of cash and walking out with a gun.

    What we need FIRST is a national registry. Then, and only then, does a private sale ban or a real assault weapons ban become feasible.

    We should be pushing for a Registry, and not focusing on NRA lies and misinformation.

  •  Huffpo has a pretty powerful lead this morning... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, jan4insight, splashy

    Basically a series of links of all gun related violence across the country over the past week. The length of the list of links is sobering.

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:11:58 AM PST

    •  I notice a large number of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Murder-suicides, which is usually some guy killing the women he claims to "love" along with others that are protecting her, and then himself.

      If nothing else, getting more guns off the streets would protect women far more than anything else we do.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:45:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are there numbers available regarding (0+ / 0-)

    what portion of the guns used in "mass murders" (or of those illegally transported to Mexico) are "gun show guns" as opposed to "legitimte" dealer sales?

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:21:31 AM PST

    •  I doubt that there's numbers like this available (0+ / 0-)

      However, I think that the number of guns purchased from dealers going into Mexico would be small. Yes, an organized group of people could go to Wal-Marts all over Arizona purchasing assault rifles and then immediately reselling them to agents of Los Zetas. However, if these people were legally purchasing assault rifles by the hundreds or the thousands, somebody would notice.

  •  As a technical point, there is no "civil war" in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, splashy

    Mexico, there is only the same old garden variety drug war that we all have. End that and "The Peace Coefficient" of the entire planet improves dramatically.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:50:20 AM PST

    •  50,000 people killed is a civil war (0+ / 0-)

      While I don't claim to be an expert on this subject (and becoming one could be hazardous to my health), I think that what's been going on in Mexico over the past six years is something a lot bigger than the FBI vs. the Bloods.

      For example, one of the groups, the Knights Templar, professes a clearly anarchist agenda.

      •  Okay, "civil war" is two or more groups (0+ / 0-)

        fighting to actually take over the government of the country. That is not Mexico.

        There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

        by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:30:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not necessarily the entire country (0+ / 0-)

          OK, I've put some thought into this, and here's what I came up with.

          A civil war doesn't necessary have to be about taking over an entire country. It could be an effort to take over a region. Or it could be secessionist.

          If I wrote here that Los Zetas control the Mexican State of Coahuila, a lot of people would agree with me. However, they haven't taken over Coahuila in the same fashion that Franco took over Spain. They haven't moved into the state office buildings and started issuing memos to the employees. Yet. And to confuse the issue further, you could argue that the manner in which Los Zetas control Coahuila isn't much different from the way the Koch brothers control large parts of the US government and media.

          To return to supporting my own argument, however, the commentator Fernando Sergio wrote the following: "According to experts, this is no longer confined to drug trafficking; it is a struggle for control of Mexico's society." (

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