Earlier today, I came across a story that is becoming all too common.
You see, gun shows are under attack all over this country. Everywhere you turn, someone is attacking gun shows. While the Crossroads of the West show was able to return in Del Mar, California, that may only be a temporary reprieve. Other locals are also battering gun shows, long a way for customers to encounter and shop for other guns that their local store might not have in stock. They’re family events where many of us remember falling in love with firearms as young kids.
Yet they’re being squeezed out. Recently a Tennessee County banned them on public property and are considering a ban on shows in the county as a whole.
The Agricenter International announced on its own that the facility would no longer host gun shows starting in 2020.
The R.K. Shows hosted its last gun and knife show at the Agricenter, on Sunday. Now, some Shelby County Commissioners want to ban all gun shows across the county.
Rex Kehrli, promoter for the gun show, said the show has been a family-oriented tradition in the Mid-South for more than 30 years. He said many of the vendors saw this show as one of the biggest in the area and the customers are responsible when it comes to gun safety.
Kehrli said he hopes the county commission does not ban these shows across the county because there are a lot of people across the state who appreciate these types of events.
“Tennessee has such a tradition of families hunting and having firearms,” Kehrli said.
This is a serious step, something I’m not really sure the county can do. For one thing, Tennessee is a preemption state, meaning local governments can’t pass gun control laws on their own. What else would you call a measure banning the sale of guns in a certain time or place but a gun control measure?
To be sure, supporters are making arguments that it’s not a violation of the Second Amendment because you can still buy at gun stores, but that argument is the same as saying a law banning you from carrying a sign outside city hall isn’t a violation of your First Amendment rights because you can still carry it in your driveway.
It ain’t gonna hold up in court.
However, while reading about this, I couldn’t help but recognize just how much of this really has little to do with facts and more to do with myths. One myth in particular and that’s the “gun show loophole.”
When I bought my first gun show firearm, I knew little about the gun laws. I was a little surprised when the dealer needed my information to conduct a background check. I’d heard all about the gun show loophole and was assured that you could buy guns at gun shows without a background check. Yet every dealer at the show conducted those checks. What gave?
Well, it was nothing more than people freaking out over face-to-face transfers that were originally legal in pretty much every state in the nation. While these were sometimes happening at gun shows, the show itself did nothing more than facilitate two interested parties in meeting one another. They were no different than a classified ad in the newspaper, really.
Yet through the years, the myth of the gun show loophole has persisted.
While universal background checks are part of the response to this supposed loophole, another part is the hysteria surrounding gun shows. The idea that they are somehow facilitating criminals getting guns isn’t supported by the data, yet they hysteria remains. Why?
That’s the million-dollar question, now isn’t it? Much of that stems from the fact that anti-gunners are notorious for not looking at data that goes against their beliefs. Even if they do, though, they can easily justify this in their own minds because, well, “if it stops just one bad guy” and all that crap.
The problem is, it doesn’t stop criminals. It just makes things difficult for law-abiding citizens.
My hope is that if Shelby County tries this nonsense, the state steps in and smacks them down. Hard.
We need solutions grounded in facts, not hysteria.