In an April 7 op-ed in the NY Daily News, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords wrote that right now people who “don’t want to take a background check” can “buy as many guns as they want on the internet or at a gun show, no questions asked.”
Those people — criminals, or people suffering from mental illness, like the young man who shot me — can buy as many guns as they want on the Internet or at a gun show, no questions asked.
The claim about using the Internet to get around background checks is false, as Breitbart News has demonstrated numerous times in the past.
Here’s how the process works.
When an individual buys a gun off the Internet, it has to be shipped from an federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) to a FFL in order to be picked up. In other words, if a resident in Reno, NV purchased a gun from a store in Jacksonville, FL, that gun would be shipped not to the individual who purchased it but to an FFL in Reno who would then contact the consumer, tell him or her the gun had arrived for pickup, and then perform a background check on the individual before allowing the gun to be taken out of the store.
As for sales at gun shows, there are some instances where private sales occur and therefore there is no background check, but these are secondary gun sales–they are not sales of new handguns or rifles coming straight from the factory to a citizen without a background check being performed. All of the guns were first purchased by someone who passed a background check, unless of course the guns are so old that they predate background checks.
The “close-the-gun-show-loophole” argument is usually employed as a means of ending private sales by requiring every grandson who buys a gun from his grandpa to go through a background check before doing so. This is exactly how Giffords is using the argument in her op-ed.
But we must remember–Jarod Loughner did go through a background check when he bought his Glock 9mm handgun at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson, AZ on Nov. 30, 2012.
The FBI did the required check on him and he passed, and Giffords does not dispute this.
So private sales did not in any way contribute to the horrible crime committed against Giffords in 2011 nor did they contribute to the other horrible crime Giffords’ mentions in her op-ed–the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
In the former, a background check was performed and the shooter passed it. In the later, the guns were stolen, so no amount of background checks would have made a difference.