Finally! Background Checks Coming to Tucson Gun Shows

Like an arms bazaar in Syria, there’s no tax and no background check for guns bought at the gun show.
The Pima Fair Commission created an arms bazaar like in Syria and never required a background check for deadly firearms bought at the gun show.

Jan Lesher, the Pima County Administrator, has announced that private vendors selling firearms at the Pima County gun show will be required to conduct background checks on potential customers.

Up to now, the notorious Crossroads Gun show has allowed private, unlicensed vendors to sell weaponry without background checks to anyone age 18 or older.

In a memo to the Southwestern Fair Commission, Lesher wrote: “In the new rule, the Department of Justice amended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulations to require individuals who sell guns for profit to obtain a license and mandates that buyers undergo background checks at gun shows and flea markets. This is a significant policy change since our last conversations about the operations of gun shows at the Pima County Fairgrounds.”

“This is the result of all of us working all these years,” said Molly McKasson of Citizens For a Safer Pima County.

Democrats on the Pima County Board of Supervisors, led by Rex Scott, earlier enacted a gun safety law on March 5, 2024, designed to curb straw purchases by convicted felons and domestic abusers.

Mike Humphrey, a member of the Pima County Board of Health, also worked actively to require background checks for all gun sales.

Pima County Supervisor Rex Scott has advocated for gun safety in Pima County.

The Commission has created a gun bazaar at the Pima County Fairgrounds, allowing gun sales out of car trunks in the parking lot and in the fairgrounds building.

One in five gun sales today are conducted without a background check. As a result, guns often fall into the wrong hands. See Orgy of Cheap Guns for Sale at Pima Fairgrounds.

The AFT background check requirement will also apply to the Tucson Expo Gun Show held at 3750 E Irvington Rd. in Tucson, near Alvernon and I-10.

Closing the gun show loophole

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.

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.

Lesher added: “In addition, please provide a summary of the actions taken in response to previous inquires in which the Commission noted that gun show operators were to provide:

  • Tables at which the Pima County Attorney’s Office would distribute free gun locks;
  • Classes on gun safety with experts to provide instruction on safe firearms handling, use of gunlocks, prevention of minors’ access to firearms, and offers of additional firearm-safety training sessions;
  • Brochures listing available Pima County and appropriate local private mental health services and related services such as suicide and mental-crisis hotlines;
  • Signs warning attendees that firearms should not be provided to children under the age of 18 and
  • Training for unlicensed firearms dealers in best practices for sealing firearms without formal background checks.

2 thoughts on “Finally! Background Checks Coming to Tucson Gun Shows”

  1. Larry–great summary as always! Thank you! You were such a help on this issue. I was so grateful when you contacted me years ago, saying you’d like to do something to clean up the gun show at the Fairgrounds. Your passion for this challenge, your investigative nature, and your computer savvy were so helpful in keeping this issue out there with some urgency. I’ll keep you posted as things move forward. Be well–warmly, molly

    • Second that emotional.
      I recall protesting at fairgrounds with Molly and Larry 4 years ago over lack of background checks. Such great news!!


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