Gun Shows Cited As Source of Firearms Used In Crime


Gun shows, which gained popularity in the 1990s and now number in the thousands nationwide, are coming under increasing fire as critics claim they contribute to the incidence of violent crime, the Kansas City Star reports. “Gun shows are one of our main problems,” said Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Alvin Brooks. “These are the guns that end up on the streets of America.” Brooks recalled several teens who were shot last year in retaliation for robbing a drug dealer at gunpoint. “One got killed, one lost a leg, and one was paralyzed,” he said. “This one fellow who I talked to (at the hospital) said they had bought those guns at gun shows. He said all you have to do is be 18 years old, and sometimes they don't ask you anything if you've got cash.”

Critics contend the biggest problem is a loophole that allows criminals and others who are prohibited from buying a firearm to obtain guns from unlicensed sellers at guns shows. Gun-rights advocates maintain, however, that there is no “gun show loophole.” “If anyone is involved in the trade of selling and buying firearms, they have to obtain a federal firearms license,” said Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the National Rifle Association. “That is the law of the land today, so to say that there's a loophole is disingenuous.” Arulanandam acknowledged that unlicensed sellers do not have to conduct background checks; he said they were in the “distinct minority.” Local law enforcement authorities insist gun shows remain a major concern. Said Maj. Anthony Ell, commander of the Kansas City Police Department's violent crimes division” “Individuals who may not be able to get them legally through proper licensed dealers, that gun show loophole allows them to bypass all of that and get guns.”


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