Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gun Show "Loophole" Bills Update

As Sebastian notes, a measure to close the "gun show loophole" failed in the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Subcommittee. Though this was not the only legislation trying to shut down private sales at gun shows, it likely means that the effort is dead this year.

HB1234, the bill that was voted down, and SB595, its Senate companion, have a very broad definition of "firearms show vendor" that included anyone who sold any firearm at a gun show, including in the parking lot outside. This was likely prompted by the 20/20 segment where Omar Samaha was able to buy a gun in a gun show parking lot. Good riddance.

However, HB520 is still sitting in the same subcommittee. It requires anyone who arranges for a fixed location from which to sell, transfer, or exchange firearms at a gun show to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). This isn't a sea change - I'm pretty sure most people with booths have FFL's already. However, it requires anyone who sells three or more firearms, regardless of having a booth or not, to have an FFL. While I think that the gun show push is an uphill one, this bill has an incrementalist approach that gun rights supporters need to watch out for.

As always, the VCDL Legislation Tracking Tool is a good place to keep an eye on these things.

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