For Release: Tuesday, April 24, 2001
The Violence Policy Center (VPC) strongly supports Senator Reed’s legislation to close the gun show loophole. The VPC first uncovered the threat posed by gun show sales in its 1996 study Gun Shows in America: Tupperware Parties for Criminals. This study for the first time exposed the dangers of gun shows, where many sales are legally completed without background checks of any type. The lack of a background check means easy access to guns by convicted criminals and other prohibited persons.
The American people were horrifically awakened to the gun show loophole because of firearms used at mass shootings including Columbine and the North Valley Jewish Community Center that were bought without background checks at gun shows.
Senator Reed’s legislation will shut the door on Tupperware parties for criminals by simply mandating that the same background check required for sales at gun stores be extended to all sales at gun shows. By applying current law to gun show sales, it will keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, fugitives, and children. Senator Reed’s bill is a logical and long overdue step that builds on the success of the Brady Law. When this bill becomes law, gun shows will no longer be Tupperware parties for criminals.
This legislation passed the U.S. Senate in 1999 when it was authored by former Senators Frank Lautenberg and Bob Kerrey. Unfortunately, it was stopped in the House by the gun lobby.
It is critically important to close this loophole without allowing the gun lobby to weaken the Reed bill. We can’t, and won’t, accept weaker laws filled with new loopholes, such as reducing the time allowed to complete background checks on questionable buyers. Any weakening of the three business days currently allowed would fundamentally weaken the Brady law and is therefore unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is just one area in which efforts have been made to weaken legislation to close the gun show loophole.
We know what it takes to close the gun show loophole: passing the Reed bill. This is a clear and simple bill that will stop criminals and juveniles from getting guns with no questions asked.