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S. 843: Lautenberg Trying Again To Regulate Gun Shows

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sen. Frank Lautenberg has once again introduced legislation to regulate gun shows. And as before, it calls for massive new government powers to register gun show customers, register gun owners, retain information on gun sales that take place at gun shows, heavily tax both gun collectors and gun sales, and require gun show promoters to police gun show customers, as if they were agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The bill is not about “gun shows.” Claims that the bill would only “close” the so-called “gun show loophole” by requiring Instant Checks on non-retail sales of guns at gun shows, are patently false.

In reality, gun shows are large, public events held in convention centers and banquet halls. But S. 843 defines “gun show” so broadly, that it would include a person’s home. Merely “offering” to “exchange” a firearm at an “event” could be banned. The National Matches at Camp Perry and your local gun club’s Sunday trap shoot would be defined as “events” subject to the bill’s provisions. Even talking about a gun at an “event” could be seen as an illegal “offer” to sell a gun. Even if you are not a dealer, but you display a gun at a gun show, and then months later sell the gun to someone you met at the show, you would be subject to the same requirements as if you completed the sale at the gun show. The restrictions and regulations S. 843 would impose upon real gun shows, and upon gun owners’ personal activities the bill would preposterously define as “gun shows” and “events,” are unprecedented. Running afoul of S. 843’s numerous, far-fetched provisions could send you to prison for years.

Gun show customer registration: A person who attends a show, even without a gun, who even discusses the possibility of selling a gun, would be required to sign “a ledger with identifying information.” Gun show promoters would have to retain the ledgers indefinitely for inspection by the BATFE.

Absurd requirement on gun show promoters: Because a promoter cannot know whether a person who attends his show will discuss the sale of a gun, he will have to require every customer to sign the ledger, and check every customer’s ID to verify the information required on the ledger.

Guns sales record collection: H.R. 843 would require all licensed dealers to report each gun show gun sale to the Attorney general. This report can include any information the Attorney General determines other than identifying information about the buyer, including firearm makes, models and serial numbers. This information can then be compiled and used to create a database of gun show firearms sales and can be kept indefinitely.

Gun collector registration: If you are at home with a collection of 50 or more firearms, it would be a five-year felony to “offer” or “exchange” a single gun -- even between family or friends -- unless you first registered with the BATFE and paid a fee, the cost of which would be at BATFE’s discretion.

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