A View from the Gun Show

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on


Paul Brandus, an award-winning member of the White House press corps, reports for The Week, on his visit to a gun show in Fairfax County, Virginia. There he witnessed unlicensed firearm dealers and private transactions. The Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE) estimates that 25 to 50 percent gun show sales are by unlicensed dealers. Private transactions—sometimes referred to as the “gun-show loophole”—allow anyone to purchase a firearm without having to undergo a federal background check. Firearm enthusiasts say that the term “loophole” is misleading because private transactions are completely legal and no laws are being broken.

The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution states that the federal government only has the right to regulate commerce between states and not within the state itself. Thus, it is within a state’s rights to regulate firearm sales within its borders. 33 states within the United States allow private gun owners to sell their firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories without the use of federal background checks.


Paul Brandus, “What I Learned at the Gunshow,” February 25, 2013, http://theweek.com/article/index/240499/what-i-learned-at-the-gun-show.

D’Angelo Gore, “Guns Acquired without Background Check,” Party Lines, FactCheck.org, March 21, 2013, http://www.factcheck.org/2013/03/guns-acquired-without-background-checks/.

Student Researcher: Adam Mullins (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot Cohen (Indian River State College)