Supporters of stricter gun control laws have long alleged that Ohio is a primary center for illegal firearm purchases, and a recent investigation by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appears to confirm the point.
Bloomberg’s office conducted a sting operation at a Sharonville gun show in late May and found that four sellers sold weapons to undercover investigators even though they told the sellers they probably couldn’t pass required background checks, which is a violation of federal law.
The illegal transactions involved the sale of a Beretta Cougar pistol, a Kel-Tec .38 pistol, an American Derringer 9mm handgun and a SKS Carbine assault rifle.
Bloomberg initiated the investigation in an attempt to stem the flood of illegal weapons into New York and encourage lawmakers to close a loophole in federal gun laws. In total, the investigation covered seven guns shows in three states, including Nevada and Tennessee.
Thirty-five of 47 gun sellers sold weapons to people who said either they probably couldn’t pass a background check or appeared to be “straw purchasers,” buying the guns on behalf of others.
“The gun show loophole is a deadly serious problem and this undercover operation exposes just how pervasive and serious it is,” Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. “We’ll encourage work with Congressional leaders to pass legislation closing the gun show loophole. This is an issue that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment; it’s about keeping guns from criminals, plain and simple.”
The mayor’s office has posted video of the stings online, along with a related report.
Bloomberg wants lawmakers to require private sellers to comply with the same rules that apply to federally licensed commercial dealers. Those sellers must use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System on potential buyers and keep paperwork on all transactions.
Greater Cincinnati’s sting occurred at Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Show, a popular event held over the years at the Sharonville Convention Center. The bombastic, cheaply-produced television commercials publicizing the shows are a longtime fixture on local channels.
Despite the frequency of gun shows at the facility, it appears the Sharonville Police Department has never investigated the profitable event for illegal sales.
A team of 40 private investigators who conducted the stings was hired and supervised by Kroll, which describes itself as “the world’s leading risk consulting company.”
If the Bill Goodman show is typical of the event oversight at the Sharonville Convention Center, then maybe a recent push by some county officials to abolish the Northern Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau isn’t such a bad idea.