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Lautenberg Renews Push to Shut Gun Show 'loophole'

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  • Lautenberg Renews Push to Shut Gun Show 'loophole'

    Lautenberg renews push to shut gun show 'loophole'
    By Jordy Yager
    Posted: 04/21/09 03:28 PM [ET]

    Several high-ranking senators led by Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on Tuesday relaunched their push to require gun sellers to conduct background checks on purchases of all types of guns at state gun shows.

    On the heels of the 10-year anniversary of the Columbine shootings the lawmakers pushed to close the gun show “loophole” that exists in more than 30 states.

    These states do not require personal gun sellers, who are authorized to hawk their own firearms at gun shows, to conduct a background check on buyers of the guns. This allows people with criminal histories to easily obtain weapons like those used in the Columbine killings, according to lawmakers.

    Measures similar to Lautenberg’s bill have passed the Senate twice before but have failed to pass the House because of pressure from gun lobbying organizations like the National Rifle Association, said Lautenberg, who was joined Tuesday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

    “There is no rational reason to oppose closing the loophole,” said Lautenberg, the bill’s sponsor. “The reason it’s still not closed issimple: the continuing power of the special interest gun lobby in Washington.”

    The NRA strongly opposes requiring background checks on the personal sale of firearms, saying that such mandates could extend into gun deals that take place in the homes of Americans, which would infringe on the gun rights spelled out in the Second Amendment.

    The NRA has also said that guns used in crimes, like those used in the killings at Virginia Tech nearly two years ago, are not usually purchased at gun shows.

    Lautenberg called on his colleagues to support the bill, which he plans to introduce this week, but said he wasn’t thinking about whether or not it stands a better chance of passing this year.

    But gun control advocates with the Brady Campaign heralded President Obama as a strong ally to getting the measure passed and signed into law this year.

    “For the last eight years we haven’t had anyone in the White House who supported this,” said Paul Helmke, the group’s president. “The president supports it, Sen. (John) McCain (R-Ariz.) has supported it. It makes sense — we already do background checks for other gun sales; we ought to get this done.”

    Attorney General Eric Holder, also faced with an increasing debate on reinstating a ban on assault weapons, has not actively addressed the gun show “loopholes.”

    “These are issues that we'll have to discuss,” Holder said on CBS two weeks ago. “The president will be the one who will ultimately set policy: things that are politically salable and things that will ultimately be effective.”

    Lautenberg on Tuesday also said that by tightening requirements of personal gun sellers at gun shows, law enforcement officials could more closely track firearms and possibly curb the number of weapons used by drug cartels in Mexico.

    “Thirty percent of the guns that go to Mexico are bought at gun stores,” he said. “We don’t know whether they’re bought from unlicensed dealers, but logic would say let’s have some idea who it is that bought those guns and what their intentions might be.”

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has repeatedly said at congressional hearings on the increasing violence along the U.S.-Mexico border that he supports imposing the mandatory background checks at gun shows as a way to blunt the border violence.

    “I think there are also legislative steps that we can take to strengthen this fight,” he said at a hearing last month. “If Congress, for instance, closed the gun show loophole that allows purchasers to circumvent background checks that occur at … gun stores, our government's work would be a lot easier and more effective.”

    But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Lieberman that she could not wait for Congress to take action.

    “Anecdotally a number (of the guns used in Mexico drug violence) have been purchased at (U.S.) gun shows,” she said. “The issue for me … is that we need to act now and as you know that sort of a statute would take a while to wind its way through. I (have) to play the hand of cards I have, and the hand of cards I have allows me to do southbound seizures.”

  • #2
    Okay. The asshats in Washington should just get it over with and propose to repeal the 2d ammendment. That's what they really want so why not just do it. Get it out there for all the states to decide. Then, if they are lucky, they can come around and confiscate all of our guns. They should then tell Mexico they can have the US back. At least the parts that want to go back. The rest goes back to France, England or whatever country those parts came from. Russia gets Alaska, who knows who gets Hawaii, and so forth. The Spanish get Florida.

    In fact, while they are at it, they might as well repeal the all of the bill of rights and let the govt control everything in our lives. Hurray, we won't have to work no more.

    Okay, rant over. Everyone here must get everyone they know out to vote next year. It people stay home again, we are doomed.:mad:
    Last edited by Skyowl; 04-23-2009, 10:31 AM. Reason: Spelling
    As Zombie Axe would say...
    "Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty."