cuccinelli and the gun show loophole

I saw another reason to hate politicians this morning while watching the news.

Independence USA PAC is running a new anti-Cuccinelli ad in Virginia. (IUP is funded by current NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg.) The ad puts forward how Cuccinelli opposed closing the “gun show loophole” …

Wait.

Do you actually know what the “gun show loophole” is?

When you buy a gun from a gun dealer or pawn shop or any other commercial entity that is licensed to sell guns, you have to fill out a piece of paper and prove your identity to the shop. (This post only addresses the rules in Virginia – I am not familiar with gun laws in any other state.)  The shop then takes your piece of paper and your proof of identity and they contact the state police, who run a quick check to make sure you’re not a felon or charged with certain misdemeanor crimes (drug possession, domestic violence, etc.).  If you don’t set off any alarms, the shop is allowed to sell you the gun, they do so, and you leave happy.

(Due to recent events like the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, there have been numerous attempts to get a person’s mental status taken into account in the gun purchase process, but unless you are committed to a mental institution against your will, there often isn’t any public record that can be searched by the police (or even the FBI) that will show whether or not you have a history of mental instability.)

In the state of Virginia, as a gun owner, you are allowed to engage in the private sale of your firearms if you so wish.  Whether you own 1 gun or 100, unless you are a commercial entity, you are not required to put anybody that buys a gun from you through the background check process.  You are expected to engage in some due diligence in the private sale of a firearm, such as writing out a bill of sale and getting some proof of identity that shows your purchaser lives in Virginia. This last part is important, because selling a gun across state lines requires the involvement of an “FFL” – Federal Firearm Licensee, or somebody who is allowed to sell guns commercially. Many private sellers will take this a step further, by not only asking for a drivers’ license, but also asking to see a buyer’s voter registration card, which is a pretty good way to make sure your buyer isn’t a felon, because in Virginia, felons aren’t allowed to vote and therefore won’t have a  voter registration card.

The “Gun Show Loophole” is when a private citizen rents a table at a gun show and sells part of his collection of guns.  Note the key words here – PRIVATE CITIZEN. Not a commercial entity.  Even at a gun show, a commercial seller must submit buyers to the background check process.  A private citizen is not required to do so.  This means that anybody with a VA DL can go to a gun show and probably buy a gun pretty easily – with no background check – as long as they buy from one of the collectors at the show.

“Closing the Gun Show Loophole” then would entail forcing ALL parties that sell guns at gun shows to submit buyers to the background check process.  It’s that simple.

However.

Whether you think this is a good idea or not is not the point of this blog post.  What is the point is why I hate politicians.

The new Independence USA PAC ad blasting Cuccinelli shows the photos of several mass killers, including Seung-Hui Cho (pictured at left), who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech on 16 April 2007. It also shows the Aurora, CO shooter, James Holmes, as well, and several others in a very fast montage.

I did some research into these shooters.  All either had a history of mental illness (or at least some measure of treatment for mental issues) or were suspected of mental problems in the months leading up to their murderous activities.

Every single one of the shooters pictured in the ad used legally purchased firearms, none of which I was able to determine were purchased using the “Gun Show Loophole” or in any way that was anything other than 100% legal.  Some of the shooters used guns purchased by other people, such as Adam Lanza, who killed all those 1st graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School with his mother’s legally purchased guns.

Putting the photos of these cowardly murderers in an ad about how Cuccinelli sucks because he opposed closing the “Gun Show Loophole” is specious at best.  This shows that politicians – and the high-powered lobbying collectives that support them – care more about scaring the shit out of you than actually educating or informing you about the issues and where their candidates stand on them.

In Virginia, this ad has the effect of saying “The VA Tech massacre was Ken Cuccinelli’s fault because he opposed closing the gun show loophole.”  Keep in mind that the “Gun Show Loophole” wasn’t even an issue people were talking about in 2007 when the VA Tech massacre happened.

Shame on Michael Bloomberg – who, by the way, should stay the fuck out of Virginia politics and focus on running his own city – and shame on Terry MacAuliffe and any other Democrat, Republican or Independent that supports this kind of misinformation and fear-mongering.

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