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Old 09-03-2009, 6:31 AM
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Default UC Davis undercover at gunshows

UC Davis undercover at gunshows shows availability of weapons.

UC researchers find vast unregulated weapons markets at gun shows
By Paul Thissen
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 09/02/2009 09:02:02 PM PDT
Updated: 09/03/2009 0407 AM PDT

Click photo to enlargeAn unlicensed seller walks the aisles at a gun show, photographed by the UC Davis School of...«12»DAVIS — From pocket-size assault weapons and sniper rifles that can kill a man a mile and a half away to incendiary armor-piercing bullets, you can find what you are looking for at gun shows across the United States — even if you do not want your name to appear on any paperwork.

In hidden-camera photos and videos captured by UC Davis researchers, men roamed gun shows with assault rifles slung over their shoulders and pistols tucked in their belts, available for sale with no waiting period, background check or paper trail.

Even at licensed dealers, some with more than 1,000 pistols and rifles at a single booth, there were illegal "straw buys" in which real gun buyers concealed their identities by

getting other people to put down their names for the paperwork and background checks. In some cases, the dealer obviously recognized the "straw buy" but sold the firearm anyway.

These methods are a leading source of guns used in crimes, said Garen Wintemute, the professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine who conducted the study, called "Inside Guns Shows: What Goes on When Everybody Thinks Nobody's Watching."

Guns bought from dealers that sell at gun shows are more likely to be used in violent crimes than guns from other dealers, according to earlier research by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Mexican drug cartels buy most of their guns in the United States, because it is easier than buying in Mexico, Wintemute said.

In trips to 78 gun shows, UC Davis researchers captured the culture of gun shows, where white nationalist, neo-Nazi and neo-confederate literature sometimes sits alongside guns and ammunition, according to the report and its photos.

Gun shows account for a minority of gun sales in the United States. Half to two-thirds of gun purchases at gun shows are from licensed dealers. However, they are the most visible place to see unregulated gun sales, according to the report.

California's gun laws are much stricter than those in most other states, Wintemute said. Sales from one private individual to another must go through a licensed dealer, and California law enforcement officers keep close tabs on gun shows.

Federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks, but it does not regulate gun shows or transactions between individuals.

"California is a good example of the fact that you can regulate gun commerce "... without putting (gun shows) out of business," Wintemute said.

He said he hardly ever saw individual sales or straw buys in California. However, large gun shows take place in Reno and Phoenix.

"You just drive across the border. Everybody knows that," Wintemute said.

To keep guns out of the hands of criminals, Wintemute said, ATF should step up its presence at shows — officers only go to about 3 percent of shows now, and only respond to complaints. And sales between individuals should also be subject to background checks, he added. National Rifle Association spokeswoman Vickie Cieplak disagrees. Gun shows are safe, community events where licensed dealers are well-regulated, she said.

Regulating individual sales would be an unnecessary burden on people trying to sell family collections of guns, she said.

On the Web
To see undercover videos of gun show transactions shot by the report's contributors, go to
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Old 09-03-2009, 6:37 AM
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Turbinator Turbinator is offline
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Let me guess. This whole thing at UCD was commissioned by good ol' Garen Wintemute. Sheesh.

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Old 09-03-2009, 7:01 AM
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No, Turby.

It was commissioned by the Joyce Foundation. Garen Wintemute is nothing more than a puppet.

He's the next Michael Bellisiles.
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Old 09-03-2009, 7:02 AM is offline
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I don't even think a mainstream gun-grabber could take this seriously.
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Old 09-03-2009, 7:27 AM
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CowboyShooter CowboyShooter is offline
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yeah, this piece of trash journalism was on the front page of our local fish wrapper this morning...loads of hysterical "anti" rubbish on gun shows with 2 sentences at the end from an NRA spokesperson saying gun shows are safe. They even throw in the trash about Mexican drug cartels buying their guns in the US because it's so easy...

Oh how I hate this crap.....

You say "gun nut" like it's a bad thing
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Old 09-03-2009, 7:38 AM
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I wonder if they ever tried to buy a gun themselves. Ignorant people!
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Old 09-03-2009, 7:53 AM
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Darklyte27 Darklyte27 is offline
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How do these "reasearchers" know these people dont meet up at a FFL to do the transactions later on?

plus, what if the buyer/seller did the transaction already and the day of the gunshow is when they can pick them up


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Old 09-03-2009, 8:09 AM
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I have been to plenty of gunshows and have never witnessed an obvious straw purchase or a sale of a firearm in the parking lot.
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Old 09-03-2009, 9:31 AM
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I wouldn't mind the ATF patrolling if it shut up the antis.
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