The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Senators Introduce Bill to Close ‘Gun-Show Loophole’

It’s a curiously enormous loophole in the federal effort to keep firearms out of the hands of felons, fugitives, minors and the mentally ill: Unlicensed

Amandeep Coleman
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 21, 2009

It’s a curiously enormous loophole in the federal effort to keep firearms out of the hands of felons, fugitives, minors and the mentally ill: Unlicensed gun-show vendors — unlike their licensed counterparts — have no obligation to do background checks on prospective weapons buyers.

Today, Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Jack Reed (R.I.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) re-introduced legislation to close that loophole by requiring all gun-show vendors to perform background checks on potential customers.

“Allowing sales at gun shows without identification, without accountability and without knowing whether the buyer is a felon or mentally ill, is unacceptable,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This legislation proposes common sense protections that do not limit the rights of law abiding citizens to own and purchase guns.”

But the bill has a tough road ahead. The National Rifle Association, which opposes the proposal, is a juggernaut of political influence in Washington, and Democratic leaders, including President Obama, have all but conceded that gun reforms are likely going nowhere this year.

It’s a familiar scenario. Indeed, when the Senate passed a similar gun-show proposal in the immediate wake of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the NRA lobbied it dead in negotiations with the House. If it couldn’t pass in that political environment, don’t go holding your breath for passage in this one.

Amandeep Coleman | Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".


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