Statement of M. Kristen
Rand, Legislative Director, Violence Policy Center
The Violence Policy
Center (VPC) strongly supports Senator Reed's legislation to close the
gun show loophole. The VPC first uncovered the threat posed by gun show
sales in its 1996 study Gun Shows
in America: Tupperware� Parties for Criminals. This study for
the first time exposed the dangers of gun shows, where many sales are
legally completed without background checks of any type. The lack of a
background check means easy access to guns by convicted criminals and
other prohibited persons.
The American people
were horrifically awakened to the gun show loophole because of firearms
used at mass shootings�including Columbine and the North Valley Jewish
Community Center�that were bought without background checks at gun shows.
Senator Reed's legislation
will shut the door on Tupperware� parties for criminals by simply mandating
that the same background check required for sales at gun stores
be extended to all sales at gun shows. By applying current law
to gun show sales, it will keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic
abusers, fugitives, and children. Senator Reed's bill is a logical�and
long overdue�step that builds on the success of the Brady Law. When this
bill becomes law, gun shows will no longer be Tupperware� parties for
This legislation passed
the U.S. Senate in 1999 when it was authored by former Senators Frank
Lautenberg and Bob Kerrey. Unfortunately, it was stopped in the House
by the gun lobby.
It is critically important
to close this loophole without allowing the gun lobby to weaken the Reed
bill. We can't, and won't, accept weaker laws filled with new loopholes,
such as reducing the time allowed to complete background checks on questionable
buyers. Any weakening of the three business days currently allowed would
fundamentally weaken the Brady law and is therefore unacceptable. Unfortunately,
this is just one area in which efforts have been made to weaken legislation
to close the gun show loophole.
We know what it takes
to close the gun show loophole: passing the Reed bill. This is a clear
and simple bill that will stop criminals and juveniles from getting guns
with no questions asked.
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.