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Why Closing the Gun Show Loophole Won’t Stop Criminals or Gang Members

April 9, 2018 - 10:00pm

The Leon County Commission is scheduled to conduct a public hearing Tuesday night to discuss a proposed gun show loophole ordinance pushed by Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley.

I’ve known Mary Ann for years and when she last suggested this bad idea, I called her, and she later withdrew the proposal.

Why is this idea wrong-headed and counter-productive?

Because it feeds into the unwarranted belief that it will do something about gun violence.

It’s the same thing that the Florida Legislature tried to do, and they missed the mark as well, but that’s for another column.

The concept that criminals and/or gang members go to gun shows to buy their weapons is laughable on its face.

Because if that were the case, law enforcement or undercover officers would be at every show to monitor and arrest where appropriate these criminals and gang members.

It’s farcical to think anyone with ill intent would go to a gun show because there would be some record-keeping or recollection from the seller about the gun buyer.

No, it’s much, much easier to buy a Saturday Night Special or, for that matter, an AR-15 from a secretive gun dealer who doesn’t want any record of a purchase and wants to get it off their hands right away.

And the price, well, it’s a lot lower on the street mostly because of its unknown providence or the fact that it’s a stolen weapon.

So, the idea that by making legitimate gun buyers have to wait three days or more and have their background checked is going to keep criminals and gang members away, when they don’t go there in the first place is why this idea is misguided.

Instead, you’re simply going to trample on the Second Amendment rights of people who want to buy a gun or long gun.

Sheriff Walt McNeil has said his officers aren’t going to attend gun shows to keep the wrong people from buying a weapon, although you can certainly bet that if he knew criminals or gang members were going to be buying guns, he’d sure have a detail stake out the show.
Instead, the idea now is to have Code Enforcement officers (CEOs) to do the work of law enforcement officers.

This is a silly idea.

CEOs don’t have any arrest powers, they don’t even have the authority to ask questions or compel people to answer them.  

They can’t confiscate any guns either because they have no authority, and they aren’t even trained for this task.

All of this is being proposed to do what? Catch people illegally buying guns.

Except there’s not a hint of evidence that anyone who is not supposed to buy a gun at a show is actually doing so.

I know every member of the County Commission very well except its newest member. These aren’t stupid people. In fact, I have a great deal of respect for all of them.

But, commissioners, don’t be pushed into making a misguided step in the name of making our community safer.

If you want to make us all safer, commit more financial resources to the South side of our community where most of the crimes already occur.

Where most of the drug dealing is going on.

Where most of the ex-felons probably live.

Where most of the shooting happens.

Just yesterday, An African-American Democratic legislator from South Florida -- Shevrin Jones -- whom I know well, was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times, as saying “Our communities don’t care about whether you do a background check.  Because we’re not going to the store to buy a gun. We’re going to buy them illegally.”

Waiting periods don’t impact criminals or gang members because they get their guns on the street, and moreover no criminal or gang member is going to pay a sales tax.  

Think about it.

Commissioners, don’t take this knee-jerk reactionary position because all you’re going to do is make it more expensive to buy a gun for any citizen of Leon County.

Your job is NOT to make guns tougher to get for our citizenry. Your job is to make it tougher for criminals and gang members to get their guns as they use them to terrorize us and our neighborhoods, to maim and kill people.

Leave us law-abiding citizens alone, please.

Barney Bishop III is a Tallahassee-based lobbyist and president and CEO of Barney Bishop Consulting, LLC.  He has a Concealed Gun Permit and is a 2nd Amendment advocate.   He can be reached at


guns same more people then kill

First three words of the Second Amendment? "A well regulated..." Say it again for those in the back. –– A study by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) in June 2000 reviewed over 1,500 ATF investigations and concluded that gun shows are a “major trafficking channel,” associated with approximately 26,000 firearms diverted from legal to illegal commerce. (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Following the Gun: Enforcing Federal Laws Against Firearms Traffickers xi, 1, 12 (June 2000), at ) – Gun shows are “the critical moment in the chain of custody for many guns, the point at which they move from the somewhat-regulated legal market to the shadowy, no-questions-asked illegal market.” (Center for American Progress, The Gun Debate 1 Year After Newtown: Assessing Six Key Claims About Gun Background Checks (Dec. 2013), at – A 1999 ATF study found that 25 to 50% of gun-show vendors are unlicensed. (Gun Shows: Brady Checks and Crime Gun Traces, supra note 5, at 4.) – ATF does not have a formal gun show enforcement program and conducts investigations of gun shows only when it has law enforcement intelligence that illegal firearms activity is likely to occur.20 From 2004 to 2006, ATF conducted 202 investigative operations at 195 guns shows—roughly 3% of the gun shows held nationwide during this period. These operations resulted in 121 arrests and the seizure of 5,345 firearms. Offenses included: Convicted felons buying guns Straw purchases Unlicensed individuals selling firearms as a business Dealers failing to document transfers or conducting background checks on purchasers Persons possessing prohibited firearms, including machine guns and sawed-off shotguns (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Investigative Operations at Gun Shows)

Just another attempt by the gun grabbers to make infringe on our right to keep and bear arms.

LMAO....another DEmocrat joke bill....gang members & criminal's...don't go to gun shows EXCEPT to see what going prices are on guns...anyone that lives in a Democrat run county ORANGE CO...knows to go to Section 8 housing areas to buy a GUN...Criminals have there OWN GUNSHOW like Orange Co.Slum area Street corner..Winter Park..THAT WHERE CRIMINALS go & buy GUNS..(that been known since I was a kid 1960's) ...You want to do something about gun Control..Spend you all out Push to...BUST THE CRIMINALS SELLING GUNS...they have NO AGE REQUIREMENT.& NO BACKGROUND CHECKS..You can change all the Laws you want ..BUT that want stop Street Corner Criminal Gun Shows.....YOU just trying toget one thing CHANGED & then you want more & more.(just like Smoking Ban years back)....YOUR PUSH IS TO ONLY HAVE CRIMINALS to have GUNS..THERE are..LAWs on the Books that are NOT ENFORCED by Cities & County of these Wannabe Political higher management & sheriffs etc..etc.. I Been to gun shows in Florida & other states for 52 yrs...Never bought a gun from aSeller not having me fill out a Background check.& called in to local state police office...SO THAT left wing BS..

How many time does have to be said "There is NO such thing as a GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE!" Not all people at gun shows with tables and offering guns for sale are dealers. Dealers are required by law to perform background checks EVEN AT GUN SHOWS. The law does not require private citizens to do background checks. This is true whether the private citizen is at a gun show or in their own home. The gun show has nothing to do with any loophole!

Flat wrong. There are no waiting periods at gun shows, which is a loophole. Also, shows offer ridiculously abbreviated "training" that allows someone to obtain a CCW.

It doesn't seem you have ever purchased a gun at a gun show. There is a waiting period from the time you buy the gun until the background check comes back from the government before you can take the gun with you. Your wrong about the waiting period so you jump to another subject, CCW training. You can't win on one so you throw something else. So typical of liberals.

Again,there is NO "Gun Show Loophole",everyone who buys a gun at a gun show goes through a background check.

All criminals have to do is offer enough cash to a legitimate gun buyer, to go into any firearm place of sale, and buy one. Then hand it over to the criminal after the wait period. If you want to cure this, there has to be regulations and punishments available. But the gun lobby has fought to keep these regulations down and out. If you want a gun (or guns), you first must obtain a license, that says you're not a criminal, and you've passed a gun safety coarse. That license permits you to wave the 3 day wait period. However, if you buy a gun, and you hand it to the criminal element, and it's used in a crime, YOU go to prison for doing so, because the weapon was bought under your license, and you failed to report it missing, or failed to keep it locked up. There has to be consequences to naughty gun buyers/owners. Right now, there aren't. Now, I know this is a pipe dream suggestion. But it's one way to make sure the wrong people can't get their hands on something they shouldn't have. I'm all for the right to bear arms.

Criminals don't buy guns,96% are stolen,lock up criminals & your guns.

Mary Ann Lindley is a hopeless, anti-gun liberal who wants her legacy to be that she passed a gun control ordinance for her buddy Roy Bloundeau, the lobbyist for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg who is a notorious gun banner. It doesn't matter that the ordinance is a piece of garbage, Mary Ann wants to be the bell of the ball and anybody who votes with her is dancing with her instead of the voters who brought her to the ball.

The issue is one of consistency. If you are going to have some gun laws, which you should, there should be a common sense level of consistency. Currently, they make no sense, and do not have a good level of consistency and common sense as they should...

Having been to gun shows as table seller I know you are sadly mistaken, they is crawling with uniformed and under cover cops and ATF agents THAT is why criminals stay away Stupid comments like the one 'raising the stigma' want 'feel good legislation' but that does more harm that good Example "gun free zones' from pervert Joe Biden that has killed more people than enough 98% of mass shootings happened in a "Gun Free Zone' It tells a killer with a gun he is the only one so he is safe

It may not do what you say, Barney, but it does raise public stigma associated with guns, gun transfer, and gunplay in general.

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