America's Gun Shows: Open Markets for Criminals

Feb 19, 2009
An estimated 5,000 gun shows are conducted in the United States every year. Federal law mandates that licensed dealers at these events perform background checks on purchasers before completing a sale. There is an exemption in federal law, however, for private sales by individuals who are "not engaged in the business" of selling firearms, or who only make "occasional" sales. The Gun Show Loophole allows these unlicensed vendors to sell firearms at gun shows without conducting background checks on purchasers. To date, only 17 states have acted on their own initiative to close the Gun Show Loophole.
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