The “Gun Show Loophole” doesn’t exist. What people are usually disingenuously referring to by the word “loophole” is an exception deliberately built into the Brady Act of 1993. Private transactions between residents of the same state do not require a NICS (background) check. (Please understand that some states have their own background check requirements. Thirty-two states require no background check on private sales. Ohio is one of the thirty-two.) Sales that are made by an FFL (Federal Firearm Licensed) dealer, or between individuals in different states, do require a background check. If you buy a gun online, for example, and it is located in a different state, the gun must be sent to an FFL dealer who will be required to run the NICS check before transferring the gun.
The misnomer “Gun Show Loophole” comes about because some private sale transactions take place at Gun Shows. Some sellers are not dealers at the shows and so they don’t need to do a background check. This makes up a small percentage of private sales.
The NICS check (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) is operated in West Virginia by the FBI. Their phone lines are open 20 hours a day, 364 days a year. Ninety-two percent of NICS checks are completed during the phone call. If you pass the check, the dealer is allowed to sell you the gun immediately.
At GunIQ, we recommend doing a bill of sale on all gun transfers, even if the NICS check is not required. You may not knowingly sell a gun to someone who is not allowed to possess a gun.
What if you see a gun listed online for sale locally, and you want to buy that gun. In short, you can if you aren’t crossing state lines. But note that you cannot mail a handgun, and FedEx and UPS won’t ship guns.
Lastly, we get questions about gun registration and NICS all the time. People are puzzled that I say there is no registration of guns in Ohio, yet they have to provide info that goes to the FBI when they buy a gun from a dealer. The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) prevents information about the gun from being transferred to the federal or a state government. The FBI gets your info, but not the details about the gun you bought. BUT, if the gun is found later at a crime scene, law enforcement may still use its subpoena power to acquire the FFL’s records on the sale of a gun.
So, the next time someone uses the term “Gun Show Loophole,” explain that it has only a little to do with Gun Shows and nothing to do with loopholes.
Defend Yourself–and join GunIQ if you want to be a part of a large community of people who wish to carry lawfully.
GunIQ conducts top-drawer firearms training in Northeast Ohio, including classes for Ohio’s Concealed Handgun License (CCW).