Gun shows protesters take aim at the wrong target

By Gerard Valentino

The scourge of violent crime is tearing apart our communities and often strikes in our poorest neighborhoods. Often, it is the children that bear the brunt of the violence and often live in terror because of their neighborhoods are under the control of violent gangs.

Each day countless Ohioans in such neighborhoods are victimized due to their lack of access to the best self-defense tool ever devised – the firearm. But, it isn't just gun laws that are responsible for the success criminals have enjoyed over the last 30 years.

Those among us willing to pass laws that empower thugs and murders have also used a vile smear campaign that vilified guns and scared many people aware from the best possible choice to keep them safe. False statistics and shrill cries of children being killed in epidemic numbers by gun accidents left people confused about the benefit of gun ownership. The net effect was that innocent citizens were left at the whim of armed criminals without the means to fight back.

Often, well intentioned by misguided citizens try to make a show out of their opposition to the right to bear arms, and claim permissive gun laws are causing criminal activity.

The same dynamic caused misinformed legislators to outlaw people's ability to carry guns without effecting a criminal’s ability to remain armed.

The anti-gun propaganda had the most effect in Ohio's poorest communities where the need for self-defense is often most acute. Countless families were left terrorized because they were convinced owning a gun for self defense was more dangerous than being unarmed.

Despite the fact that study after study proves that permissive gun laws lead to less gun crimes, and the success of concealed carry laws nationwide, there are still people willing to push an anti-gun agenda which they know has a net effect of causing more crime. Then, they hold prayer circles, candle light vigils and preen in front of the media while blaming guns for the very crime they helped perpetuate.

Sadly, those using propaganda that vilifies guns are often community leaders normally people look to for advice. Unfortunately, many of those same community leaders aren't experts in the effect of guns on society and their misinformation is causing undue harm.

If, as a community, gun owners stand by idle while the enemies of the law abiding citizens continue to act it also makes us culpable. To that end, we need to make our voices heard whenever people gather to debate the role of legally armed citizens in Ohio.

To do otherwise is to throw in our lot with the propagandists that are pushing for public policy that help criminals terrorize innocent people.
A perfect example of an emotion based protest was covered by the Dayton Daily News in their recent story, "Criminal background checks at gun shows wanted by group of churches."

Gun shows and the people attending them are not the problem. People unable or to arm themselves are unable to provide protection to their families from the attacks of armed criminals. That is a problem. Numerous studies have found that only a tiny percentage guns used in crimes originate at gun shows. They are most often stolen, because that is how criminals get things they want. The DDN and the protest organizers disregard the facts.

This is the kind of misguided propaganda intended to vilify gun owners that we can't let go unanswered. We encourage you to attend the Bill Goodman gun shows this weekend.

Gerard Valentino is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and his first book, The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, is available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.

Following is a statement from the Bill Goodman Gun & Knife Shows:


Bill Goodman’s Gun & Knife Shows
Mt. Washington, KY
April 30, 2010
Contact: David Goodman

There has been a tremendous amount of publicity both locally and nationally recently regarding the so-called gun show "loophole" and various legislative attempts at "closing" it. Neither Bill Goodman's Gun & Knife Show nor the facilities he operates in takes the operation of their businesses lightly, and there can be no reasonable dispute that they have always operated in full compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.

Moreover, Goodman's regularly reviews and enhances its business practices, meets with various local and federal law enforcement agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and otherwise demonstrates the same professionalism and pride in the Second Amendment that it always has during its 40+ years in business in general and at Hara specifically. Nevertheless, Bill Goodman's Gun Shows would like to take this opportunity to point out certain facts regarding the so-called gun show "loophole" that are often overlooked.

What is commonly referred to as the gun show "loophole" is nothing but a derogatory reference to conduct that is specifically permitted under both state and federal law. Sales of firearms at gun shows are no different, in that state and federal law both permit certain conduct and prohibit certain conduct. Thus, this "loophole" is merely conduct that is specifically permitted under all applicable law, and in order to assist their cause of changing the law, certain groups have invented a nefarious-sounding label for legal conduct. Bill Goodman does not take issue with any citizen's rights to free speech and to petition the government to change the law.

As set forth on the attached ATF "Dos and Don'ts" for gun shows, any seller holding a federal firearms license is required to follow the exact same set of laws and regulations when doing business at a gun show that they must follow when doing business at their store -- including FBI background checks on ALL firearms transactions.

A private party who does not hold a federal firearms license, however, is not required by state or federal law to conduct a FBI background check when selling a firearm to another private party. (Nor is it even possible for non-licensee, private parties to conduct FBI background checks, because such are only available to those holding a federal firearms license.) Accordingly, non-licensed, private parties may sell firearms at gun shows in accordance with state and federal law, as long as such sales otherwise fully comply with all provisions of federal and other applicable law (i.e., they cannot transfer guns to people they know or have reason to believe are prohibited from possessing the guns such as felons, illegal aliens, mental defectives, etc.). This is the law throughout Ohio, and it applies to all private sales regardless whether they occur at gun shows, a private residence, or anywhere elsewhere.

Accordingly, to the extent that anyone engages in conduct as a buyer or a seller of a firearm, whether at a gun show or anywhere else, that is in any way in violation of any applicable law, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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