The Reed Gun Show Bill:
It's All About Gun Registration and Shutting Down Gun Shows


No matter how much spin is offered to the contrary, the Reed gun show bill -- identical to the failed Lautenberg proposal of 1999 -- is not about "instant check" at gun shows. "Offering" to "exchange" a single firearm at an "event" would be banned. Not one of these words is defined in federal law, but they all describe crimes that could send gun owners to federal prison with a felony conviction. National shooting competitions are "events" under this amendment; so are local gun clubs' Sunday trap shoots, and hunting club meetings or even hunts. Even talking about a gun at an "event" could be interpreted as an "offer" -- all banned under the Reed bill's provisions.

The Reed bill is about gun registration and harassment of law-abiding people

* If you are not a licensed firearms dealer and attend a gun show, even without bringing a gun to that event, and you so much as discuss the possibility of selling a gun while in attendance there, you would become a "vendor," and be required to sign "a ledger with identifying information." Gun show promoters would be required to retain these ledgers indefinitely for federal inspection.

* If you are at home with a collection of fifty or more firearms, it would be a five-year felony to "offer" or "exchange" a single gun -- even between family or friends -- unless you first registered with the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as a "gun show promoter," and paid an unlimited fee to be set at the complete discretion of the Treasury Department.

* Dealers would be required to send information on particular firearms sold directly to ATF -- a requirement that doesn't even exist for transactions at gun stores today. In tandem with the buyers' personally identifying information that is now being unlawfully maintained by the FBI, this is the framework of a national gun registration system prohibited under the Firearms Owners' Protection Act.

* Even a cosponsor admits the bill is about gun registration: ". . . we need to start by making sure that every gun bought in the United States is checked and registered. . . . I am proud to be a cosponsor of Senator Reed's legislation to close the gun show loophole. This bill is an important step in the right direction." -- Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), on Sen. Jack Reed's website, 4/24/01. 

The Reed bill imposes extraordinary burdens on honest firearms dealers and private citizens

* The bill allows ATF to make unlimited compliance inspections of all "vendors" at any event ATF chooses to define as a gun show -- even to examine records of sales that did not take place at gun shows. This is an impossible burden for licensees, who currently do not bring their full business records to gun shows -- hardly a realistic requirement since dealers must maintain complete records of all sales for at least 20 years. Dealers would be unable to conduct any business at a gun show under such circumstances.

* If, as a private citizen, you display a firearm at a gun show, but make a sale months or even years later to someone you met at the show, you would be subject to all the same requirements imposed on a sale that occurred at the show.

The Reed bill gives free rein to federal bureaucrats

* Under the Reed bill, the Treasury Department has complete, unbridled discretion to promulgate regulations for registering gun show promoters, for requiring gun show promoters to notify every attendee of any or all provisions of the Gun Control Act, and for requiring promoters to keep records of all vendors for any period of time the Secretary desires.

* The Secretary may also impose regulations on licensed dealers requiring them to keep special records of firearms they transfer for others (again, a requirement that doesn't exist at gun stores today), and to submit information to ATF about firearms transferred.

* The Secretary must establish a registration fee for promoters. No limit is set on the amount; this alone provides an opportunity for the complete elimination of gun shows.