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

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

A brief recap. In a previous column we mentioned Arnie Grossman, co-president of Sane Alternatives To The Firearms Epidemic (SAFE) — a group that led the fight to close the gun show “loophole” in Colorado. Grossman was saying in an interview that the “vast majority” of criminals who want to go to a legal source to get guns go to gun shows. What is his source for this assertion? He says he thinks it was some FBI national crime statistics. But, Grossman is wrong. An FBI spokesman says, flatly: “We have no stats for that or any data regarding gun shows.”

OK. Recap completed. But, there’s much more Grossman said that was wrong. And it’s worth examining in some detail since what he says gives us a valuable, though distressing, insight into the mind — or, more accurately, I should say the mindlessness — of a gun-grabber and his utter disregard for the facts. And remember, please, the so-called gun show “loophole” is the number of private sellers at gun shows whose customers are not required to undergo a background check.

    Q: “You have said that ‘most guns used for criminal purposes are purchased at gun shows.’ But what data do you have that shows that any of the guns sold by private sellers at gun shows are used in crimes?”

    A: “We don’t. No one has those figures because there’s no tracking, no paperwork to track. We can only estimate and conclude that we don’t have hard numbers and that is one of the problems.”

Well, no Arnie, that’s one of your problems!

    Q: “Then, with no data, you can’t prove there’s a gun show ‘loophole’ problem.”

    A: “Yes, we can.”

    Q: “How?! If you don’t know how many guns were sold through this so-called ‘loophole,’ and how many of these guns were used in crimes, how do you know this is a problem?”

    A: “Well, that’s a good one. But, uhhh — why don’t we get back to — you take the total number of estimated sales at gun shows and subtract out those sold by licensed dealers — there was a number, something like 15 percent of all guns in homicide investigations were purchased that way by an unlicensed seller at a gun show. And I can’t tell you how it all came out. But, that’s a number that came from police departments and the FBI. But, boy. I’d sure like to go back and refresh my memory on this. It could be bad information.”

What is being discussed, of course, are guns sold by unlicensed sellers at gun shows and not what Grossman refers to which are guns purchased by unlicensed sellers at gun shows. And, once again — Earth to Arnie! — the FBI says it keeps no gun show data! As for the allusion to “police departments,” who knows what this means? There are thousands of such departments in America.

Oh, well. As even Grossman seems to anticipate, he could be giving out “bad information.” I’d say: Bet the farm on this fact.

Still, still, despite his admitted lack of any data, Grossman says the gun show “loophole” is “an enormous problem!”

    Q: “But, neither you nor any gun-show-“loophole”-closer are able to cite any data proving this!”

    A: “You don’t think 2,000 deaths of children is proof there’s something wrong with the accessibility of guns?”

    Q: “Annually?”

    A: “Yes.”

    Q: “You’re saying 2,000 children a year are killed by guns bought at guns shows from unlicensed sellers?!”

    A: “Killed by easily accessible purchases which includes gun shows, on street corners, over the back fence.”

    Q: “But, you’re being asked a narrow question: What data do you have proving the gun show ‘loophole’ is, as you say, an enormous problem?”

    A: “To me, there’s no such thing as narrow when there’s even one death of a child with a gun purchased at a gun show.” He suggests that if it’s “hard facts” that are being sought on the subject of the gun show “loophole,” independent sources should be contacted.

    Q: “But, there are no hard or soft or any facts that prove what you say!”

    A: “I wish I could help you. The one thing that is hard to nail down is the number of people who in fact bought their guns at gun shows!”

Well, thank you, Arnie Grossman! But, if this is true, as you admit — and it is — then why are you saying the gun show “loophole” is an “enormous problem!”

Grossman goes on to say that yes, he is indeed for a Federal law closing the gun show “loophole.” Why? Because, he says (are you seated?), it would be “a lot easier” to do it this way. A lot easier to have a Federal law regulating all 50 states, from Washington DC?! Yep, that’s what the man says.

But nothing is ever made “easier” by passing a Federal law. A case in point is the McCain-Lieberman bill to, supposedly, close the gun show “loophole.” It is almost 4,000 words long and a bureaucratic nightmare that would regulate scores of things having nothing to do with any alleged “loophole.” When this is pointed out to Grossman, he agrees that the McCain-Lieberman legislation is “problematic.”

Not surprisingly, Grossman says he is personally for legally-required background checks for all private purchases of guns — though his organization is not. And he’s for this because “the gun is an object designed with a primary purpose of killing” — another false statement since surveys show that the overwhelming use of guns in self-defense not only never kill anybody but also are never fired!

    Q: “So, all killing with guns is bad, even in self-defense?”

    A: “No, but all killing is terrible even when justified in self-defense. If anyone came for my family, I’d be the first one to go on the defensive offense.”

    Q: “And you’d defend your family with — what?”

    A: “If I had a gun, I’d use that. If not, I’d use my hands.”

    Q: “So, you have no gun in your house?”

    A: “I certainly do not. I used to. But after my first child was born, I took it out of the house.”

    Q: “Why?”

    A: “Because I thought it posed a threat. There is no such thing as a totally safe weapon.”

    Q: “Or a totally safe anything!”

When Grossman and his fellow-gun-grabbers are taken to task for never, ever having anything to say positive about the good uses of guns in the home, like acts of self-defense which must protect and benefit some children, he is not buying this at all. He demands to know where this has ever happened. “Show me just one case!,” he says.

OK. So, he is told about one case where there was a gun in the house that might have saved lives. But, because of gun-control groups like his, the law required this gun to be locked up with the deadly result being that two children were murdered by a maniac with a pitchfork. This, of course, is the horrifying story of the Carpenter family tragedy in Merced, California, in August of 2000. Jessica Carpenter, 14, who knew how to use the gun in the house, might have saved her brother and sister. But, the gun was locked up and they were murdered.

No reply. End of interview.