Senate may vote today to end private sales at gun shows and online; Sen. Portman "undecided" if he'll join filibuster

[UPDATE: Sen. Rob Portman joins 31 Senators voting against moving the bill to the floor. Filibuster attempts proved unsuccessful, however, as 16 other Republicans including John McCain voted with the anti-gun rights majority. Portman said he hasn't seen the specific language of the Toomey-Manchin amendment described below, and thus could not yet say whether or not he could support it.

by Chad D. Baus

Last week, Sen. Rob Portman released an op-ed ensuring gun owners that he could be counted on to oppose efforts to pass a "universal" background check (UBC) gun registration scheme, and for that we expressed our thanks. The announcement of a "compromise" deal in the Senate this week by Sens. Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, seems to indicate that the UBC gun registration scheme may be dead, at least for now.

However, being offered in it's place under the name of "compromise" is yet another long-held goal of Sen. Chuck Schumer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the rest of the gun ban lobby - a ban on private sales of firearms at gun shows and via the Internet.

That's right - despite the fact that there is no indication that private sales at gun shows or online had anything to do with the horrific attack at Sandy Hook, and despite the fact that studies have repeatedly shown that criminals do not obtain their guns at gun shows, politicians in Washington, so anxious to "do something," are trying to convince the American public that this is an appropriate response to these types of mass killings.

Gun ban groups like Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns like to claim that "a loophole in the law enables criminals to avoid these checks if they buy from gun-sellers who don't have licenses. Often operating at gun shows, these unlicensed sellers give criminals the opportunity to sidestep the background check system and easily purchase guns."

But under current federal law, it is already illegal to "engage in the business" of "dealing in firearms" without a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "Engaged in the business" means buying and selling firearms as a regular business with the objective of profit. Violations carry a five year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. It is also unlawful in Ohio to recklessly sell, lend, give, or furnish any firearm to any person who may not possess a firearm.

The truth is, the goal behind the effort to ban private sales at gun shows isn't to solve a crime problem. Rather, these extremists want to end gun shows forever, because they know gun shows are as much a place for like-minded people to gather and exchange information as they are to exchange guns.

As has been pointed out on this website before, "it drives the gun ban lobby insane that the NRA signs up hundreds of members each gun show, that pro-gun candidates get to spend several hours in a cost-free campaign communication exercise, meeting gun owners in person, signing up volunteers and receiving donations in a "target rich environment. It is far too easy for groups like Buckeye Firearms Association to hand out literature attacking their favorite, anti-gun candidates for the mere cost of photocopies. Because clearly gun shows are pro-gun organizations' highest volume, lowest cost channel with which to do their work.

"Antis don't have this. Candle light vigils just don't compare. Early in the antis' game plans they secured innumerable grants from liberals like Soros and Joyce, figuring they would out-spend, out-organize and out-communicate gun owners with professional, paid staffs and large budgets. Yet pro-gun organizations out-work them and out-smart them with volunteers using nearly-free methods and channels. It drives them insane, so they pass laws to try and exterminate talk radio (including NRA News) and try to shut down our gathering places."

In an op-ed entitled "The government wants your gun rights" published yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul wrote the following:

Along with Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, I circulated a letter promising to "oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance." We have been joined by Sens. Marco Rubio, Jim Inhofe, Jerry Moran, Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Mike Enzi, James Risch, Mike Crapo, Dan Coats and Pat Roberts. But more senators need to stand up for our Second Amendment rights or the rights will be lost.

Based on his strong assurances to gun owners less than a week ago and throughout his campaign, one of those Senators who should be joining Paul, Lee and Cruz should be Senator Rob Portman.

Unfortunately, Portman has been quoted as saying he wants to see more details about a gun control bill being drafted in the Senate before deciding whether to join a potential Republican filibuster of the legislation.

Please contact Sen. Portman and tell him "thanks for the op-ed - now it's time to put your words into action."

Contact Senator Portman at:

338 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3353
Click here to email
Click here to comment on Sen. Portman's Facebook
Click here to Tweet the following:

@robportman - oppose @BarackObama and @MikeBloomberg's anti-Second Amendment agenda #NRAStandandFight

[UPDATE: Sen. Rob Portman joins 31 Senators voting against moving the bill to the floor. Filibuster attempts proved unsuccessful, however, as 16 other Republicans including John McCain voted with the anti-gun rights majority. Portman said he hasn't seen the specific language of the Toomey-Manchin amendment described below, and thus could not yet say whether or not he could support it.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.


Statement from the National Rifle Association Regarding Toomey-Manchin Background Check Proposal

Posted on April 10, 2013

Fairfax, Va. - Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.

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