Gun shows are surprisingly controversial these days. For some reason, one of the responses to mass shootings in many places is to try and restrict gun shows.
There’s only so much local governments can do, but they do as much as they can. While they can’t really stop shows on private property, they can on public property and many have.
However, a recent op-ed by a California state lawmaker defending the practice and justifying a state law expanding it descends into outright fabrications of facts to make their point.
At this point, it’s hard to keep track of the gun violence that is ravaging our country.
In 2021, there already have been over 310 mass shootings nationwide and over 17,000 lives lost to gun violence. In Orange County’s 37th Senate District, we have experienced two high-profile shootings, including the March 31 mass shooting at an office complex in Orange, which took the lives of four victims, and the May 21 road-rage shooting in Orange that killed 6-year-old Aiden Leos.
No other developed country has levels of gun violence remotely close to what we experience in the United States. But we cannot allow this gun violence epidemic to be normalized.
To help address this, I have authored Senate Bill 264, which would effectively end most gun shows at county fairgrounds in California, because I believe our state must take a stand and remove ourselves from the business of selling guns. Given the research showing that more guns lead to more gun violence, it is morally reprehensible for our state to continue to promote gun violence by allowing the sale of guns and ammunition on taxpayer-owned property.
Gun shows essentially are flea markets for firearms and are a primary mechanism by which unlicensed, unregistered and illegal firearms are trafficked through secondary markets. According to research by leading policy organizations, gun shows often create the opportunity to circumvent gun safety laws and are a common venue for straw purchases and illegal gun transfers.
Really? You’d think that state Sen. David Min, who wrote this, would understand that licensed dealers at gun shows operate on the exact same rules gun stores. That means criminal background checks and penalties for knowingly conducting a straw purchase.
In short, there’s nothing about a gun show that makes it inherently more dangerous to the community than any other gun sale.
Oh, but he has studies backing him up, right? Well, his writing is awfully devoid of links so we can evaluate those claims. However, we do know those “leading policy organizations” are gun control groups who have it in their best interest to layout a vehicle for lawful gun sales as problematic. Even then, what he says the studies claim isn’t that these illegal gun sales are happening, only that they could.
Min claims they’re a “primary mechanism” for illegal gun sales, yet provides no evidence. Especially since the US Department of Justice says otherwise. The closes he does is claims by anti-Second Amendment groups that claim the opportunity exists.
Gun shows also are a major conduit for the sale of ghost guns — gun precursor parts designed to be assembled into a firearm. When my staff and I recently visited a gun show, the most popular vendors were those selling ghost-gun kits for Glock-like pistols and AR-15-style rifles. These ghost-gun parts had no serial numbers and could be purchased with cash and carried right out of the gun show, with no background checks or licensing. These untraceable ghost guns have become a top concern for law enforcement.
Except making a ghost gun without a serial number and failing to report it to the state is illegal, but buying the parts to build such a weapon if you intend to comply with the law isn’t.
In other words, Min produces a claim but ignores that many, if not most of these sales are for completely benign and legal purposes.
That’s because Min, like so many other anti-Second Amendment advocates, doesn’t want people to have access to firearms. He wants to make it more difficult for gun shows not because criminal activity might happen, but because law-abiding citizens do purchase firearms there. That’s what it’s all about.
But it’s good to remember that if the facts don’t back up the narrative, some people have no problem ignoring it.