Tonight, ABC News airs a hard-hitting expose into guns in America, including a fierce look at the infamous “gun show loophole” that supposedly allows for more lax weapons purchases at gun shows. On the eve of the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, Omar Samaha, the brother of one of the victims is given $5,000 to buy as many guns as he legally can — and comes back with 10 in less than an hour.
From its premise to its execution, this broadcast is chock-a-block full of mistakes.
First up, there is absolutely no reason to link the Virginia Tech shooting with gun shows. The shooter (whose name should be lost to history to deny him the fame he sought) bought his guns from a dealer.
Next up, the infamous “gun show loophole” is as big a fiction as the “most of the guns used in Mexico’s drug wars come from the United States” canard. It implies that there are exceptions to gun laws that cover transactions that take place at gun shows.
That is simply wrong.
The law says that gun dealers must run background checks on all would-be buyers. Gun dealers at shows have to — and do — run those checks on all would-be buyers.
The law says that non-dealers who sell a gun need not run a background check on whom they intend to sell their gun to. At a gun show, they still don’t have to run those background checks.
When Omar Samaha took his $5,000 into that Richmond, Virginia gun show, he bought his ten guns from private sellers. He didn’t make a single purchase from a licensed dealer.