Democrat Representative Hank Johnson from Georgia told a crowd that a violent criminal can buy whatever gun he wants – including so-called assault weapons – at gun shows or on the internet, “no questions asked.” Here’s what he said:
“We got battlefield weapons now, ladies and gentlemen, coming on to our streets, and you can go to a gun show and purchase an assault weapon that’s made for the battlefield. Only reason for an assault weapon is so that you can kill as many people as you can and as quickly as possible. That’s why they say, ‘War is hell.’ And war is usually taking place somewhere else, not on your street.
“We don’t need assault weapons on the streets, but you can go to a gun show and you can purchase an assault weapon even though you are a violent criminal – even though you have a history of mental illness you can go get a weapon – no questions asked. Or you can be on the terrorist watch list or a no-fly list and you can go and purchase the firearm no questions asked –or you can go on the internet,
“The internet and gun shows – you can get whatever gun you want as long as you can pay the price that they are asking, no questions asked, and you can end up doing whatever you want to do with that gun and we’ll come back in Congress and offer a moment of silence for the victims.”
It might be true that a violent criminal can buy semi-automatic rifles at a gun show, or on the internet, but just because someone can do something doesn’t mean it must be legal. There are a lot more gun laws in this country that gun control proponents like Hank Johnson are willing to admit.
The whole “gun show loophole” is a complete myth. Every single transaction in the country involving the purchase and sale of a firearm – by law – must be accompanied by a background check of the purchaser, if buying from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder. Sean Davis with The Federalist writes:
What does exist, however, is a federal exemption for sales between two private, non-FFL residents of the same state, regardless of whether that transaction happens at a gun show or not. The identity of the parties involved in the transaction, not the venue of the sale, is what matters under federal law. This federal exemption makes perfect sense: there’s no federal nexus for a purely private transaction between two private individuals who reside in the same state. Many states, including Oregon, Colorado, and Illinois, have enacted universal background checks in order to eliminate the exemption for same-state private firearms transactions.