Harmon Strunk was sentenced this year to a 10-year federal prison term in Texas for selling a weapon to a felon at a gun show and selling without a license, says the Houston Chronicle. After the Newtown massacre, the focus on gun shows mostly concerns the effort by gun-control advocates to close the “gun show loophole” – the fact that unlike sales by federally licensed dealers, private transactions at shows and elsewhere do not require background checks.
What stands out about the Strunk case is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – the gun lobby’s perennial whipping boy – pursued it at all, given the political firestorm that erupted on Capitol Hill over previous gun show investigations. ATF had its knuckles rapped by a Republican-dominated House subcommittee in 2006 when a gun show promoter, two gun sellers, and a private investigator hired by the National Rifle Association accused agents of harassing patrons at gun shows in Richmond, Va. The Justice Department inspector general exonerated ATF.