For Release: Thursday, May 20, 1999
1996 VPC Report Exposed Gun Show Loopholes
The Violence Policy Center congratulated the U.S. Senate for today’s vote to close numerous loopholes and pass a strong requirement for mandatory background checks at gun shows.
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 exposed the dangers of gun shows, where many sales are legally completed without any background checks whatsoever.
“This vote shuts 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 Lautenberg and his colleagues have made a great stride toward keeping guns out of the hands of kids, criminals, and the mentally ill.”
Because the requirement for background checks has applied only to federally licensed gun dealers, a whole universe of gun sales occurs without any checks. The gun show loophole is only one part of this larger problem. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of guns are legally sold or transferred without background checks through flea markets, classified advertisements, Internet transactions, and personal sales.
“The House should move quickly to pass the same tough gun show rules as the Senate,” Rand said. “And Congress must keep looking at the other loopholes that undermine the principle of background checks for every gun sale.”