Biden closes the nonexistent gun show loophole
Political move is a solution without a problem to push gun control
In my book that came out 10 years ago this month, I wrote that the term “gun show loophole” was invented to give the public the false impression that these conventions are hotbeds of criminal activity. Now, Pres. Joe Biden is closing this nonexistent loophole based on the unsubstantiated claim that it will keep guns away from criminals.
Biden’s takes a shot
Biden is making gun control a central theme of his reelection campaign and using executive action to bypass Congress.
The White House announced Thursday that the Justice Department’s proposed a new rule that is being heralded as closing the “gun show loophole.” The term refers to private sales at gun shows that activists have long claimed are how criminals get guns.
If enacted, the rule would require you to get a federal firearms license from the ATF when you are “offering a firearm for sale to make money, and telling a customer that you can purchase and sell him additional firearms.”
Gun control advocates say the rule will be even stricter. John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown (Mike Bloomberg’s group) tweeted Tuesday the Biden rule is “simple” — anyone who sells at a gun show is “presumed to be trying to make a profit, and you need to run background checks on your customers.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted:
the admin moved to close the "gun show loophole" & expand common-sense background checks. President Biden is standing up to the gun lobby and saving lives.
Gun control expands
I asked “the gun lobby” — aka the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) which represents firearms manufacturers and federally licensed firearms dealers— about the celebration. Mark Oliva, NSSF’s managing director of public affairs, said:
Those politicians making assertions of loopholes are, fact, rights that belong to “The People.” Attempts to deprive those rights, like what seems to be the case with the Biden administration’s most recent proposed rule, are unconstitutional.
According to the White House fact sheet on the rule, the goal is to achieve “universal background checks.” That means every private sale of a gun goes through the government’s background check database.
Oliva said universal background checks “would necessitate a national firearm registry” which is “expressly forbidden by federal law.”
Are gun shows dangerous?
Politicians and activists have long made us believe that gun shows are where criminals go to buy firearms. Biden said in 2021:
Most people don’t know — you walk into a store and you buy a gun, you have a background check. But you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want and no background check.
No, Mr. President, you can’t. I explained in my book that at least 90% of sales at gun shows are done by licensed dealers who run background checks.
Solution without a problem
The stat is irrelevant because the “gun show loophole” is about whether private sellers at gun shows that don’t do background checks are supplying criminals with guns. The ATF said it couldn’t trace those guns to know.
Anyway, the traced guns were probably stolen. Surveys of inmates by the Justice Department showed that less than 1% of criminals claimed to have gotten their firearms at a gun show.
The myth of the “gun show loophole” worked for so long because people like me— women, people living on the coasts and most of the mainstream media— have not been to one of these conventions. Most people buy their guns at stores. Less than 4% of all firearms are sold at gun shows.
Gun dealers redefined
Even though Biden’s action is being heralded in the media as closing the gun show loophole, the real issue is that it is redefining who is engaged in business when selling guns…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial