The Gun Show Loophole

June 4-5, 2016 - My buddy from our Military Support Organization called me and he had discount coupons in hand, a nice lunch for us in the offing and offered to drive, to the Tampa Fairgrounds huge GUN SHOW.  Somewhat of a big deal here amongst the congruent.  As someone put it  Mecca for Morons. 

I have been around weapons from my 13th birthday, well trained, staying current, former military and competitive shooter in all disciplines and thats over sixty years.  I have owned my fair share of rifles and shotguns assault weapons and plinkers and attended many gun shows, in the hundreds in fact and even during my competition days I tried to sell software for matches, target and statistical counts there and rose to hierarchy in our shooting clubs.

We paid for the parking and entry.  Inside it felt different, the rhetoric and attitude of those handling those weapons. And the effect it has on the public who appeared not trained to question but blindly following some made up propaganda that they don’t question.  I’m not calling the participants anything like  stupid, or dangerous, just susceptible and plenty of bad scenarios, more than a fair amount, promoting the over the cliff lemming effect.  

All promulgated by fear and potential danger emanating from the lips of the buyer and the sellers repeated from what they read or heard.  It sounded in some cases like a convention of vigilantes and wannabes.  Some belonged to the boom-boom bund, less all the flags and uniforms.

Years ago I used to frequent the gun shows every couple of months as a competition shooter and hunter, always looking for ammo bargains, a scope, loading equipment, bullets in bulk to support my competition, till I had to give up three gun matches and sporting clay shooting for health issues.  TMJ and shotguns and rifles don’t mix.  Handguns are still OK using a relaxed weaver stance and I never leave home without one. 

The show was graced with the usual normal everyday citizens looking for self defense, protection, curiosity, killing an afternoon, male bonding, showing siblings the sport as a means of tribal acceptance, and preservation, sort of like macho land.  

A few self proclaimed super patriots, defenders of the faith, some elaborately decorated tattooed skulls essential artwork,  basic nobodies, we call them “Wannabes”s” playing their role, complete with their look, attitudes, tough, imaging, lots of tattoos on bare arms, lies and prejudices talking their usual trash about black presidents and helicopters painted black and why they are going to support T-RUMP, their extensive training as SEALS other special forces and military expertise.  

In thirty-five years of working and building Military Memorials and Military Charities, these are not the people I have gotten to know. I know and have worked with the real guys.  Many of those attending are what I call Church Goers.  They go to church, just don’t live by the faith.  

A fitting quote attributed to Mahatma Ghandi,  “ I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ “.  Just might have been a repeat. A similar quote appears to be from an Indian philosopher named Bara Dada, brother of Rabindranath Tagore. The full quote from Dada appears to be from the mid-1920s: “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians, you are not like him.”

With an able body of listeners soaking it all in, it struck me as very similar to the crowd at an awards dinner given at the annual Hatfield and McCoy Family Hour event.  The finale is when the topics turned to, “ Who did what to who first”  and hopefully just rhetoric, the spiel began. 

Many directors of misinformation, you would not believe the crap spelled out as gospel, and I just listened and observed.   A few times I wondered whether to intervene, and was smart enough not to because some of these people were beyond or below normalcy and were walking on their knuckles. (Troglodytes)

Go Grand and Showtime NRA Style

Pushing personnel protection , you should have lots of guns, maybe a golf bag full so you can select the right one because you never know when the government is going to send their Jackbooted thugs in black helicopters to invade your home because you forgot to pay that fine for not mowing your lawn or watering on the wrong day. This is wrong and stupid.

At the show, there were ten lanes filled with every kind of weapon imaginable.  Im guessing 90% or better were either Military style AR’s and combat shotguns, high capacity pistols with little purpose other than offense or claimed defense  and all kinds of accessories.  

It was a rare moment in American public life: A killer's shooting rampage had claimed lives young and old, giving rise to a burst of political will to strengthen gun laws. In November 1998, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state Constitution that allowed counties to mandate background checks for private gun sales — closing the so-called gun-show loophole. Public support for universal background checks had surged over the summer, after Tampa resident Hank Earl Carr, a volatile felon who acquired a stockpile of firearms despite his criminal record, fatally shot three law enforcement officers and a 4-year-old boy. The constitutional amendment passed with 72 percent of the vote.

With their newly granted authority, Florida's most populous urban counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough, rushed to enact ordinances regulating gun shows. From a distance, it looked like a bracing example of voters making their will known on an issue that confounds politicians.

The reality is very different. Despite the amendment's passage and counties' actions, the requirements for criminal records checks on private gun sales are virtually unenforced in Florida.

Law enforcement officials, government attorneys and gun-show organizers say the ordinances are ignored in the seven counties — encompassing almost half of Florida's population — that currently have them.

Sheriff's deputies and police officers have responsibility for seeing that the background checks are conducted, but acknowledge they do little to ensure compliance. Gun-show organizers say private sellers typically disregard the laws.

"Nobody's checking anything," said Randie Rickert, organizer of the Hernando Sportsman's Club gun show.

Hernando County passed an ordinance closing the gun-show loophole in 1999 and repealed it in 2009. During the decade the law was on the books, it was ignored at the club's gun show, Rickert said.

"It's a feel-good law," he said. "It had no impact on anything.

At one time the two most popular military weapons sold were the venerable Colt 1911 pistol and the Colt AR-15, duplicate of the M-16 except for the sear converting it from semi-auto to full auto.  With no patent protection, the Colt AR-15 variants today include those by more than enough major manufacturers like Ruger, Smith and Wesson, and specific custom shops like Rock River, Bushmaster, Remington, DPS, STAG, and about six others.  SEE THE COLT 

On a large amount of tables there were the DIY components handily parked and organized so you could build your own.  Only the receiver has to be registered and you are off and running with the weapon custom tailored for your needs.  The 1911 handgun, my favorite of all time has about thirty companies both factory on line and custom grades available in every imaginable configuration bought with a credit card and a clean background.

What was not present were hunting rifles and sporting shotguns!  Even the legacy collectors looking for that elusive Remington or Colt .45 Single Action revolver owned by General Custer were not in attendance.

You had every kind of barker there selling telescopic sights, laser beams,  belly, plastic, leather, custom molded, and ankle holsters, really low-end Chinese made range bags from cheap to real garbage, ammunition from third world countries, licenses for concealed carry and... my favorite homemade beef jerky, and the best gizmo at the show was Fire Starter Model three as seen once on Naked and Afraid since the bow drills didn’t work well this wet season. 

This was not the show for the Sportsman Organization for Sportsmen as I knew as the NRA years ago.  Sports had nothing to do with this show.  This was a paranoia convention of media whipped citizens.  Fear prevailed, some of the folks looked scary, dressed for the occasion and when speaking appeared to have graduated magna-cum-loudmouth with barely a degree from the six grade.  

Scary folks carrying or shouldering elaborate versions of the M-16 tricked with an auto sear or AR-15 civilian sear or semiautomatic with a SLIDE STOCK option that turns it into a FULL BLOWN Assault rifle.  In some cases faster. And it’s sold with an accompanying 100 round magazine.   

Knives galore filling tables in every color of the rainbow for sale. Some of the more aggressive looking participants wore big knives on their belt and one dork carried a Samurai sword knockoff cross back fashion.  I termed him the Ninja Schmuck.  

The knife guys were in full force selling you cheap slave labor Chinese or India  junk as “collectables” as one person told me retail for under ten and sometimes under five dollars and their net cost is about $1.80 each, yes the decimal point is in the right place. Your finger might not be. They are mostly the cheapest grade of 440 steel and the pivot pin is paramount to failure with your finger under it.

If you want to be in the Knife business, its simple, just contact these guys at Cutlery Corner Network.  They will sell and send you for $366.00 dollars over 170 piece assortment of some of the ugliest and cheaply made knives just perfect for retail at gun shows for $5-$10.  The importer is FROST Cutlery.  

Not being prejudiced against knives, I am a knife collector of sorts, only the bulk of my collection are better Chef tools, like Shun, Ken Onion,  a Santoku Kramer, and Wusthof plus less expensive commercial Tramontina’s when I teach a class on cooking or do Charity work at the missions.  I own two Randalls and Two machetes and one Titanium CQ7 custom made for me.   You will get what you pay for.

The Backdoor Gun Show Loophole
Add the backdoor gun deals at gun shows, which I have witnessed enough times and nothing being done about it and you wonder whether the government is doing anything.  The non FFL “Buyers” are standing at the front door trying to buy guns even before those coming to the show to trade or buy components can get inside, it’s been right out in the open.  Cash on the spot, no hassle , no paperwork, and six months later you too can get a call from the ATF since your registered weapon or fingerprints on it were just used in a shooting maybe in Chicago.

Obviously there is not enough funding, voted down in the GOP house nor enough policing of the industry at these gun shows all promulgated by the public relations department of the NRA.  A gang banger in Chicago or elsewhere will pay three times what the gun is worth because it’s free drug money,  it is not registered, no paperwork, cash and I don’t know you.  

Not the same group of people today as their was in the past. The economy, the media has fanned the flames. I do not like more laws as much as you do. But compromise is a good word and a few small controls worded correctly would both satisfy both sides. There are loopholes, there are procedures that need to be in place.   I see violations all the time at gun shows from those working the dark side.  I saw four deals just at this one show and I didn’t even get down one row. 

Personal Experience

At another show,  before I retired, I had my AR-15 shorty with me, with two uppers and different barrels and stock changes it was versatile in competition, self defense, and S&R.   I was on a mission, though the AR was not a heavy kicker, l was looking for one of those recoil absorber rear ends with a top soft plate.  This was because of my TMJ condition. It was a fools errand and did not work.   And I got hit five times from the parking lot to the front door if I was willing to sell for cash on the spot.  One idiot waving 800 dollars in my face.   A street seller with drug connections could sell that rig for 2500 dollars and guess who gets the phone call when it gets traced.   I eventually sold it to a buyer, who were my friends at the local gun shop, they took my AR in trade for a nice .45 and did both paperworks for a $25 fee.

If you are contemplating selling your legal registered Pistol, Revolver, AR or AK-47 AKM, or Abrams tank, better get it documented with a notary or verifiable witness and plenty of identification from the new owner.   

Here is why.  At the show none of the touters were legal FFL dealers, at least ten more inside the arena touting quietly asking “Are you looking to sell”.  No trail, no paperwork, cash in pocket, and if I had sold, my name would be first on the list if it was ever used maliciously.  It’s not always the unregistered dealer in arms, sometimes its someone not thinking of consequence if it was a weapon registered to them.  

You don’t want a knock on the door, right or wrong.  The ATF is the friend of the good guy.  Recently a very valuable Colt .45 single action was recovered that was stolen 35 years ago and returned to it’s rightful owner.  Even the owner had no clue of that particular firearms value. But if it was sold stolen down through the years the others have no rights to the weapon.

The ATF, FBI, and other members of Law Enforcement  are the enemy of the bad guy.  They will come to see you, they will make inquires to the various lists and credit exchanges which record those inquires.  You don’t need that notoriety.  If I sold my guns to my brother, I would have that form since I can’t guarantee it wouldn’t be stolen from him.  And they are relentless.

By capitulation with unregistered weapons, a simple solution to stop this traffic would simply credit the first buyer with the same, less or more financial penalty as the bad guy who got the gun and used it.  Overnight there would be a scramble. It would instantly stop the no registration program.   The cell phone of you and your “selfie” gun friend is another valuable tool. 

And the deaths in this country keep mounting by guns with no registration. Your dues do not support the sporting side of the industry, they are bribes to our political officials.  And other information spread, literally endorsed by and put forth by the NRA throws fuel on the fire, stirs up the fringe idiots to taking things into their own hands.

The NRA of today is not your friend, they are doing nothing to prevent killing people... they talk the talk but fall flat on their face while walking...

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