For Release: Tuesday, December 5, 2000
1996 Violence Policy Center Report First Exposed Gun Show Loopholes
WASHINGTON The Violence Policy Center (VPC) joined U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in their effort to close the gun show loophole by requiring mandatory background checks at all sales at gun shows. At a news conference today, Senator Reed announced he will take up the effort to close the gun show loophole in the 107th Congress.
The VPC first uncovered the giant problem of gun show sales in its 1996 report Gun Shows in America: Tupperware Parties for Criminals. This report first exposed the dangers of gun shows, where many sales are legally completed without background checks of any type.
“This legislation would shut the door on Tupperware parties for criminals,” said Kristen Rand, the VPC’s director of federal policy. “Gun shows will no longer be a place to buy guns with no questions asked. Senator Reed will continue the fight begun by Senator Lautenberg to keep guns out of the hands of kids, criminals, and the mentally ill.”
Because the requirement for background checks applies only to federally licensed gun dealers, gun sales by private individuals occur without any checks. The gun show loophole is only one part of a much larger problem. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of guns are legally sold or transferred without background checks through classified advertisements, Internet transactions, and person-to-person sales.
“Guns used at recent tragedies including Columbine and California’s North Valley Jewish Community Center were bought without background checks at gun shows. This exemption is a lethal loophole,” Rand said today.