New York City Report Critical of Nevada Gun Shows - 8 News NOW

Guns of Nevada

New York City Report Critical of Nevada Gun Shows

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An undercover investigation by New York City of gun shows in Nevada, Ohio and Tennessee found a high percentage of private sellers willing to sell firearms to individuals who said they probably couldn't pass a background check.

The October 2009 report was endorsed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The report found that 63 percent of private sellers approached by investigators were willing to sell guns to purchasers who said they probably couldn't pass a background check. It was also found that 94 percent of licensed dealers were willing to sell firearms to straw purchasers.

No Las Vegas gun shows were involved, but the investigation included attendance at an event at the Grand Sierra Casino in Reno in August 2009 that attracted 42 federal firearm licensees and 120 private sellers, and featured 1,280 tables of merchandise. The promoter was Big Reno Gun Shows.

Licensed private investigators supervised by global firm Kroll and armed with video and audio gear attended the shows. Their cameras were concealed in baseball hats and purses with lenses no larger than the tip of a ballpoint pen. The audio recording equipment was embedded in wristwatches.

Of five private sellers approached at the Reno show, four were willing to sell firearms to purchasers who said they probably couldn't pass a background check. The firearms purchased included:

  • Beretta Px4 Storm, .40-caliber pistol for $598.
  • Llama Minima X45 sub-compact .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun for $500.
  • Sig Sauer P230 .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun for $725.
  • Jennings 9mm pistol for $400.

While it is illegal to sell firearms as a business without obtaining a federal firearms license and conducting background checks on buyers, the investigators said they found many private sellers doing brisk business at the gun shows.

One private seller in Reno had more than 100 guns on display in 12 professionally designed cases. Another private seller was quoted as saying: "Believe it or not, we sold mostly to dealers. I bring lots of stuff that they don't have, that they need. The next show I'll bring different stuff."

The report proposed closing the gun show loophole by having federal law require background checks and records for all sales by private sellers at gun shows.

It was also recommended that the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives increase its enforcement efforts at gun shows by "regularly conducting integrity tests of licensed and private sellers, investigating private sellers engaged in the business of selling guns without a license, and identifying whether recovered crime guns were purchased at gun shows.

"Congress should assist these efforts by providing additional resources to ATF."

 

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