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March 15, 2013

Gun show operators to tighten rules

Staff and Wire Reports
The Daily Star

---- — An operator of local gun shows has agreed to follow tighter regulations developed by the state Attorney General’s Office in an effort to close the so-called “gun show loophole.”

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that his office has reached agreements with 23 gun show operators across the state to follow the “Model Gun Show Procedures” developed by his office. 

Among them are Midstate Arms Collectors & Shooters Club Inc., which hosts annual gun shows in Oneonta, Sidney and Unadilla. The group’s most recent show was March 3 in Oneonta. 

The Model Procedures go beyond the requirements of the state’s Gun Show Law. A key provision in the rules require that all guns that private sellers bring to the shows are tagged, then checked later to determine if they were sold and a background check was done on the buyer.

The rules also limit the number of entrance doors to improve monitoring and require operators to take steps to prevent unregulated sales outside shows, including notifying law enforcement of shows so they can patrol nearby.

According to a media release from Schneiderman’s office, the 23 operators oversee more than 80 percent of the shows in the state. Five more operators are reviewing the procedures and are also expected to adopt them. The process is ongoing, with the goal of universal adoption of the procedures in the state by the end of this year.

“Gun violence is everyone’s concern, and I’m proud that we’ve worked with gun show operators to create simple procedures to ensure that deadly weapons don’t make it into the hands of felons, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill, or anyone else who could not pass a background check,” Schneiderman said in the release. “These procedures are unique to New York state and represent the first time law enforcement and gun show operators are working together to eliminate illegal gun sales. Since most people who operate and attend gun shows are law abiding citizens, my office has had nothing but positive responses to these new safety standards.”

The rules were developed after Schneiderman charged 10 gun sellers with failing to run required background checks before making sales to the undercover buyers at six shows around New York state. The buyers walked away with guns even after telling the sellers they had orders of protection against them and couldn’t pass a background check, Schneiderman said at the time.

Nine of those sellers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violation of gun show laws; another was convicted following a jury trial.

The Model Procedures also require the following:

• Post conspicuous signs throughout the shows, and give written notice to all dealers that state law requires that a criminal background check be completed before the transfer of a gun at a gun show, including on the grounds of the show.

• Provide access to a dealer who is authorized to conduct a background check at cost.

• Alert local law enforcement that a show will be held in their area, request periodic patrols in the parking lots to deter illegal sales, and call them if illegal sales are observed or suspected.