The Arizona Star published this article on January 19, 2020 at https://tucson.com/opinion/local/local-opinion-bring-background-checks-to-the-pima-county-gun/article_f470ca21-f9c1-5e0b-aa72-f0ae7f34a611.html
Recently a right-wing pundit attacked Citizens for a Safer Pima County, a community organization that supports gun safety. He called our members “dupes.” He said that proponents of gun safety are “bigots.”
The guest opinion column falsely claimed that gun safety violates the constitutional rights of gun owners. It also called America’s millions of gun owners an “oppressed minority.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Citizens for Safer Pima County, of which I’m a member, is alarmed about the black market in gun sales to felons and domestic abusers at the Crossroads gun show at the Pima County Fairgrounds. Unlicensed gun dealers at the show sell guns to prohibited purchasers and anyone with cash — without a background check.
This is the gun show loophole, which is codified in 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act. It says that “private sellers” who do not have a federal firearms license can sell guns without doing a background check.
Americans support background checks
The vast majority of Americans support universal background checks for private sales and at gun shows (77% among gun owners and 87% among non-owners). The idea of closing the gun show loophole is not controversial.
Tucson Mayor Romero signed a gun safety pledge on Jan. 9, 2020, calling for background checks. The Pima County Supervisors endorsed background checks in gun sales on December 17, 2019.
The problem is the Pima Fairgrounds Commission. If it won’t require background checks at the gun show, it should allow only federally licensed dealers there. If it can’t do that, it should cease doing business with the gun show.
We are astonished that convicted gun felons run the Crossroads of the West gun show. Robert and Jeff Templeton, the operators of the Crossroads of the West gun show, have been convicted and served prison time for federal gun law violations. This is according to news reports in California, Utah and elsewhere.
This puts criminals in charge of the local black market in gun sales, and is a clear and present danger to our community.
Prohibited Gun Buyers
Citizens for a Safer Pima County has no quarrel with Second Amendment rights or the vast majority of gun owners, who are law-abiding, responsible Americans. Our group supports gun safety. Arizona law prohibits a person from possessing a firearm if the person is:
- A felon.
- A convict in prison.
- Offenders on probation for domestic violence offense or a felony offense, parole, community supervision, work furlough or home arrest.
- An undocumented alien.
- One who constitutes a danger to himself or herself or others.
- A person who has been found incompetent.
- A person who has been found guilty except insane.
These are people who should never be able to buy guns. But they can do so at the gun show, and it’s a widely known fact among criminals, according to Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus.