9/02 Gun Show “Loophole” Fraud: Part I

The Gun Show “Loophole” Fraud — Part I
Larry Pratt

A recent issue of U.S. News & World Report (8/26/02) featured a cover story headlined “The Art Of The Hoax” which exposes a variety of what are called “elaborate swindles, outrageous gags and insidious disinformation campaigns.” But, missing from this long list of hoaxes is one of the biggest frauds ever: The attempt by many gun-grabbers and their organizations to convince us that there is a gun show “loophole” problem which must be solved by — you guessed it — passing more gun-control laws.

For openers, let’s begin with the dishonest semantics, the twisted linguistics of the “loophole” con-job. And let’s start here because language is important, as George Orwell noted in his famous 1946 essay Politics And The English Language.

In this essay, Orwell points out that language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts…. But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought…. Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

And if ever there was an example of ugly, inaccurate, foolish, corrupt and lying language which, in reality, is nothing but pure wind, it is all the hysteria about the so-called gun show “loophole.”

First, there is no such “loophole.”

David B. Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado. Alan Korwin is author of the book Gun Laws Of America. They note, correctly: “Existing gun laws apply just as much to gun shows as they do to any other place where guns are sold… people who are not engaged in the business of selling firearms, but who sell firearms from time to time (such as a man who sells a hunting rifle to his brother-in-law), are not required to obtain the federal license required of gun dealers or to call the FBI before completing the sale…. This is not a ‘gun show loophole;’ it is simply a reflection of the fact that the federal government does not require record-keeping by occasional firearms sellers who are not ‘engaged in the business.'”

OK. Got it? Pretty simple, huh? Of course, if you’re intellectually honest — which the pushers of the gun show “loophole” lie are not. But, even though a blatant lie, the use of the fraudulent gun show “loophole” phraseology is still instructive in that it reveals the warped mindset of those who want us to believe this hoax.

The virulently anti-Christian reprobate H.L. Mencken once said, falsely, that the Puritans were those people who had “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” This, as I say, was not, and is not, true.

But, it is true that something similar to what Mencken said about the Puritans can be said about those folks who are always babbling about “loopholes” in the Federal law. What these Big Government, totalitarians mean when they speak of “loopholes” is any area of American life that is not regulated by a law passed in Washington DC, any area of human activity not yet wrapped in Federal red tape and under the tyranny of (usually) non-elected bureaucrats.