Protest organizer at Ohio gun show admits necessary laws already in place

By Chad D. Baus

Last October, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg released video taken by people he paid to attend gun shows in Ohio, Tennessee and Nevada. The anti-gun mayor, who has had several Ohio mayors quit his gun control front group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (with many saying they were misled, and others saying they had never agreed to join the first place), claimed the heavily-edited video was proof of "just how easy it is for criminals and the mentally ill to walk in and buy guns -- no questions asked."

While it is clear that Mayor Bloomberg has exceeded his authority and has no business doing investigations in Ohio, while it appears likely that his "investigators" have also broken the law, and while all the conduct he complains of is already illegal and prohibited, the fact is there is a critical threat to gun shows that won't go away.

The latest salvo launched in the war against gun shows came last weekend, as a "statewide liberal advocacy group" gathered across the street from a gun show at the Sharonville Convention Center, drawing the attention of a willing media.

But even as protest organizer Brian Rothenberg called upon city leaders to impose mandatory background checks on all gun sales, he inadvertently admitted that no such changes in the law are necessary.

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Current gun laws require licensed dealers to conduct background checks but private sellers – hobbyists, collectors, or "occasional sellers" – are exempt, so long as they don't knowingly sell to those who are restricted from buying guns. This is commonly referred to as the "gun show loophole."

ProgressOhio took the issue head-on after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched an undercover investigation in several states last year. The sting revealed some private unlicensed sellers at gun shows, including one in Sharonville, sold weapons to buyers who admitted they would not pass a background check.

Not unexpectedly, the news story made no mention of the proactive steps taken by show operator Dave Goodman in the wake of the Bloomberg video release last fall, which included offering a free booth to police and federal firearms agents, strengthening background checks on prospective buyers and educating sellers on how to recognize straw buyers attempting to buy guns for criminals and other prohibited purchasers.

Nor did Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Quan Truong seek to verify claims made by the protest organizers, which were quoted in his story:

"There are more regulations over an adult buying cold medicine at your local drug store than a person buying a gun at a gun show," said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, a statewide liberal advocacy group.

The truth, of course, is that there are already laws against all of the activities Bloomberg alleges are occurring at these shows.

"When these guns get to the streets, it gets into the hands of young men and women who use them to hurt and kill people," said Rev. Peterson Mingo, with the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. "These loopholes need to be closed. Our kids are dying."

The truth, of course, is that studies from the FBI, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and the National Institute of Justice prove gun shows are not a source of "crime guns."

Perhaps the most truthful words attributed to Rothenberg by the media were these, from

"[I]t is not that the law isn't there," said Rothenberg. "It's that people are flaunting[sic] the law."

And there you have it. Proof positive from a gun show protestor that what is needed is enforcement, which Mayor Bloomberg has made painfully clear is so easy. No new laws are needed.

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

Related Stories:
Protecting Gun Shows : It's Time for Some Self-Regulation

Gun Shows Need to be Proactive to Survive

Sometimes Criminals Walk Among Us: Self-Enforcement is Key at Gun Shows

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