Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Gun Shows: An American Tradition

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Gun Shows, a piece of Americana. Like boat shows, car shows and art shows, gun shows are large events open to the public. Held in convention centers and similar facilities, they attract a broad range of people with an interest in guns, including collectors, hunters, target shooters, police officers and military personnel. Exhibitors include gun dealers (all federally licensed), gun collectors, hunting guides, target shooting clubs, and vendors of books, clothing, hunting accessories, targets, gun parts and the like.

Gun Shows & the First Amendment. Gun shows are an important venue for those interested in the political issues surrounding gun ownership. Attendees meet and share information in order to work together to protect rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of 44 states. As such, gun shows are an important part of the political process, an important part of political speech protected by the First Amendment.

Gun Shows and Federal Law. Federal gun laws apply equally everywhere; there are no special exemptions for gun shows. Under the Gun Control Act (1968), anyone who "engages in the business" of selling firearms must be licensed, regardless of where he does business. There is no such thing as an "unlicensed dealer," and dealing in guns without a license is a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In the Firearms Owners Protection Act (1986), Congress specifically authorized licensed firearms dealers to conduct business at gun shows.

Many Federal laws place obstacles to criminals getting guns. Under Federal law (and many state laws), felons, illegal aliens, fugitives, drug addicts and several other classes of "prohibited persons" are barred from possessing guns or ammunition. It is also illegal to buy a gun for a prohibited person (called a "straw purchase") or provide a gun to a prohibited person by any other means. These are felony offenses punishable by 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Gun Shows and the National Instant Check System. Congress has provided tens of millions of dollars to upgrade state criminal history records for entry into the National Instant Check System (NICS), which is used to screen retail gun purchasers. Federal law requires dealers to always screen gun customers through NICS. They must do so at gun shows, just as they would anywhere else.

Congress has specifically addressed gun sales by people who are not dealers. Under Federal law, a person who is not a dealer may sell a gun to another non-dealer for the purpose of "improving or liquidating a personal firearms collection." This is true wherever the sale occurs, and only a tiny percentage of such sales occur at shows. As noted, however, to "engage in the business" of dealing in firearms requires a federal license.

Few criminals get guns at gun shows. The most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) survey of imprisoned felons found that less than 1% obtained guns from gun shows. (Firearms Use by Offenders, Nov. 2001). The previous BJS survey found that only 1.7% of federal prison inmates got their guns from gun shows. (Federal Firearms Offenders, 1992-98, June 2000) An earlier National Institutes of Justice study found that less than 2% obtained guns from shows. (Homicide in Eight U.S. Cities, Dec. 1997) According to these reports, most criminals get guns from theft or burglary, the black market, or friends and family members.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Gun Shows
TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Illinois: Senate Passes Legislation that will Close Gun Stores

Today, the Illinois Senate passed an amended version of Senate Bill 1657 by a 30-21 vote.  As amended, SB 1657 would exempt big box stores from its restrictions.

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News  

Gun Laws  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brace Yourself: ATF Reconsiders Obama-Era Policy on Stabilizing Braces

News broke this week that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has reconsidered and “clarified” its Jan. 6, 2015 Open Letter on the use of stabilizing braces as shoulder stocks.

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Thursday, April 27, 2017

West Virginia: Governor Signs Pro-Gun Bills into Law

Late yesterday, Governor Jim Justice signed two important pro-gun bills into law.

News  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filed Against California's Assault Weapons Control Act

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today announced it is supporting, along with the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an important Second Amendment lawsuit challenging California’s newly expanded Assault Weapons Control ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators are Attempting to Sneak their Agenda into Unrelated Legislation

Yesterday, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton proposed Senate Amendment 1 to his shell bill, Senate Bill 233.

Research Shows Murders are Heavily Concentrated in Small Fraction of Counties

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Research Shows Murders are Heavily Concentrated in Small Fraction of Counties

This week, a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) revealed just how concentrated murders are in the U.S. Citing county level data from 2014, researchers determined that a small fraction of all counties are ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 21, 2017

“F” Stands for Fail: School Jeopardizes Student’s Future for Possession of Squirt Gun

Public education’s long-running “zero tolerance” war against anything that suggests the idea of a firearm (including, for example, clothing, gestures, toys, food, computer images, and favorable opinions of self-defense) has claimed another victim. This time ...

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Headed to Senate Floor for Vote

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Oregon: Anti-Gun Bill Headed to Senate Floor for Vote

On Monday, May 1, Senate Bill 719 is scheduled for a Senate floor vote.  Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A would create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could ...

NRA-ILA Leadership Forum: President Trump Vows Continued Fight for Freedom

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 28, 2017

NRA-ILA Leadership Forum: President Trump Vows Continued Fight for Freedom

That elections have consequences was made crystal clear at this week’s NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits in Atlanta, GA.  For the first time since President Reagan spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting in 1983, a ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.