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Officials want tighter laws concerning gun shows
State Representative Tracy Heard announced June 13 she will introduce new legislation aimed at closing a legal loophole that allows criminals and terrorists to more easily purchase firearms at gun shows.
Heard was joined by Mayor Michael Coleman and Councilwoman Michelle Mills at a press conference across the street from Westland Mall – where the C&E Gun Show and a street fair will take place June 18-19.
“If you look over my shoulder you’ll see where kids will be playing on Ferris wheels… right behind them will be a gun show,” Coleman said.
According to Coleman, gun shows have become a magnet for gangsters, criminals, and now terrorists.
Coleman said resident Mark Nelson was convicted of selling over 500 illegal firearms including, at the Westland Mall Gun Show. One of his firearms landed in the hands of a terrorist arrested at the Canadian border and then traced back to Columbus.
Coleman also cited the American born al-Qaeda spokesperson, David Gadahn, whose posted online instructions to extremists, “You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check (and) most likely without having to show identification card.”
“Now we have an al-Qaeda spokesperson urging terrorists to come to gun shows like this one at Westland Mall,” Coleman said.
According to Heard, this bill will cut out the pipeline of illegal gun trafficking throughout the region by requiring every gun seller to run a background check on everyone trying to buy a gun. Also, records of those checks must be kept and maintained.
If passed, under the new law if an individual attempts to purchase a firearm and fails the background check, authorities must be contacted. If not reported a misdemeanor is charged.
Currently, private dealers such as the ones found at gun or trade shows are not required to run a background check on potential buyers.
“Terrorists are making use of this loophole to obtain weapons,” Heard said.
Mills said she would be drafting a resolution for this legislation at the June 13 City Council meeting.
“Once again I stand before you, urging laws that make sense when it comes to guns,” Mills said.
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