No assault rifle background check in Vegas? No problemPosted: Updated:
Often referred to as the "gun-show loophole," current laws do not require background checks when individuals who are not dealers sell guns to other individuals.
FOX5 found out you don't always have to wait until a gun show comes to town, and often sellers will advertise no background checks are required.
Whether it's for sport, fun or home protection, millions of Americans own and shoot guns.
To get those weapons, most come to brick-and-mortar businesses like The Gun Store on Tropicana, places that require paperwork and background checks.
"None of us want to sell guns to criminals," said Bob Irwin, owner of The Gun Store.
While he's required as a dealer to fill out the paperwork, Irwin said many thrifty gun shoppers are using a loophole to avoid it.
"The vast bulk of people that buy guns without the background check aren't using them for criminal purposes. They're actually using them to save the sales tax and save paying for the Brady check," Irwin told FOX5.
The loophole is most common at gun shows such as The Las Vegas Gun Show happening at the Sports Center on Sunset Road at least once a month.
That's where in Nevada and 32 other states, private gun owners, who are not dealers like Irwin, can sell to other individuals without any restrictions or extra costs.
"There's a great financial incentive for people to shop at the gun show because of that," Irwin said.
FOX5 took an undercover camera to the Las Vegas Gun Show and went shopping to see just how many individuals were selling assault rifles, which can legally be purchased without any checks or paperwork.
Within the first 20 minutes, FOX5 found three separate parties of private individuals selling AR-15 assault rifles.
While talking about price with one group of sellers, we asked how much more background checks would cost.
"I don't know about that ... what background?" a seller responded. "This is what you call a private sale."
While about half of the tables at the Las Vegas Gun Show feature licensed dealers who perform background checks on site, the other half are selling guns out of their private collections.
Assault rifles can be bought by anyone willing to pay.
Nevada Assemblyman William Horne believes that loophole should be closed and that every gun buyer should submit to a universal background check, something which currently only costs $25.
"I think it's a reasonable request. There should be some responsibility for those who choose to sell to somebody who they have no idea who that person is," Horne, who represents district 34, told FOX5.
But the so called "gun-show loophole" isn't limited to just gun shows.
FOX5 logged on to back-page.com and found an array of assault rifles, extended magazines and even Uzi submachine guns, all for sale from private collectors.
Some sellers are being responsible, offering to pay for background checks and to meet buyers at police stations.
But others are advertising the lack of government oversight, writing things like: "No sales tax or background check ... as always, cash is king."
FOX5 called these sellers to see how easy it was to buy assault rifles without any checks online.
Some said without seeing a concealed weapon card, or CCW, they won't sell.
"I think it's the gun owner's responsibility to make sure the other person that's getting it is also legal to have it," one seller told FOX5 over the phone.
Meanwhile, other sellers had no problem selling without any kind of background check.
Horne believes sellers like that need to be stopped from selling these guns to the wrong people.
Horne also believes universal background checks won't prevent honest citizens from obtaining guns.
"I don't think it's an enormous burden on anybody who wishes to obtain a gun to undergo a background check," Horne said.
Although Irwin said closing the gun-show loophole would financially benefit his business, he doesn't support it because he believes it's an invasion of privacy for those who don't want to be on a government gun list.
He also believes universal background checks will force gun sales onto the black market since many want to avoid dealer fees and waiting periods.
"So we're going to take the guy's money and make him wait 30 days to get the gun. And those two individuals will be immediately out in the parking lot doing the sale in their car trunk," Irwin said.
Irwin also said background check guidelines on who can and who can't own a gun need to be better identified.
"If you go to your doctor and say I feel depressed, does that make you not have a gun?" Irwin told FOX5.
But Horne said that's a discussion he plans to have in Carson City this legislative session.
He hopes mental health professionals will also weigh in.
"Mental health illness has a broad spectrum, but we don't just not do anything because we cannot do everything," Horne told FOX5.
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