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January 10, 2018

How a UMass student bought a gun without I.D.

Editor’s Note: Daniel Entrikin is a University of Massachusetts student working on a documentary about firearm legislation. He submitted this feature story, based on his own independent research, to The Collegian for publication. Both Entrikin and The Collegian welcome opposing viewpoints.

I bought a gun in October. I paid cash for it. I didn’t show any identification. I told the guy my first name, and we shook hands. I put it in my trunk and drove off. I’ve been thinking about that day, especially in light of multiple firearms arrests recently on the
University of Massachusetts campus.

On December 3, a UMass student from Virginia was arrested on campus with a loaded, unlicensed handgun, as well as drugs and an electronic scale, according to police.

And less than two weeks ago, a man was arrested on campus with a loaded, unlicensed handgun, police said. The suspect also allegedly possessed drugs. The serial number on the firearm was filed off, making it untraceable, officials said.

I am a senior communication major at UMass, and am working on a film about gun laws. Those fliers around campus highlighting these incidents? Those are mine. I’m taking a stance on this issue, but I’ve been doing my homework. Here’s what I’ve found:

Mass shootings are a far too common occurrence in the United States. In March and April of 2009 alone, such shootings claimed 53 lives, according to the Associated Press. It seems as if every other week the details of another terrible shooting emerge. After the Columbine tragedy, Americans have unfortunately become desensitized to the horrors of these events.

We are the most heavily armed nation in the world, with 90 guns for every 100 people, according to Reuters. The U.S. Department of Justice figures show that in 2005, 11,346 Americans died from gun violence.

Guns have a distinct role in our society, as they should. The Second Amendment protects the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.

Watch | An excerpt from Entrikin’s film “Loophole.”

However, these rights are not absolute, and some citizens lose them. Persons convicted of a felony or involuntarily committed to a mental institution are among those that cannot legally own guns. Through the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), as well as mental health databases, licensed gun dealers legally must screen every buyer for prohibited status.

There is another way to buy guns legally. Private sellers, found in large concentrations at public gun shows, are not required by law to run background checks. They have no license or qualifications. Any legal gun owner can be a private seller. They need proof that you live in-state, and are of age to own a gun. That is all.

Consider a hypothetical scenario: I am an escaped mental patient. I want a gun. I cannot find a way to obtain a gun on the black market. A gang member would never trust me; my appearance is too suspicious. I know a visit to a gun store will uncover my mental health history and alert authorities. Instead, I visit a gun show in my home state, and with an ID, purchase a gun in a private sale. The same sale that is illegal at a gun store is completed easily and legally at a gun show.

You may be asking “Why should I believe you? This seems far fetched.”

To answer this question, I visited two New Hampshire gun shows last year. I bought a double-barreled shotgun from another attendee for cash only. When he neglected to check my ID, he committed a federal felony. More undercover presence from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) at shows would make private sellers less likely to violate the law like this. The laws are often broken by private sellers, but a background check is still not required in such a sale, demonstrated in the majority of U.S. states.

I could have been a crack dealer with a felony murder conviction. I could have been schizophrenic. I could be a wanted terrorist on the national do-not-fly list. But, the seller didn’t know, because he was not required to check.

A caveat: Do not think of imitating what I did. ATF agents are already undercover and felony firearms offenses carry serious prison sentences. I sought legal counsel long before I conducted this investigation. If I came into Massachusetts with that firearm, I would have committed a felony, and I could be in jail right now.

Suppose the December 3 campus suspect is convicted of felony gun possession. In his home state, he could buy the same handgun from a gun show with his prohibitive criminal record left unexamined.

The NICS system is as simple as a phone call. While not perfect, cross-database inquiries detect most serious issues that stop sales. Most of the failures of background checks are due to poor information sharing between agencies.

The Virginia Tech shooter bought a gun from a store and passed a background check because of a database failure, which the state of Virginia has since fixed. Though, privacy need not be an issue as the check can be issued on a pass/fail basis with no unnecessary details about the buyer revealed to the seller.

The background check system can easily accommodate private sellers. All they need to do is use it.

In the House of Representatives, The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2009 (H.R. 2324) would require background checks for all sales at shows nationwide. Though, the legislation still awaits a vote. If the Act passes, an escaped mental patient would be red-flagged, referred to authorities and taken back into custody. Until it passes, that person can walk out of a show with a gun just as easily as an avid hunter with a clean record, or as I did.  It is important to alert your Representatives of the importance of the Act being passed.

Mandatory background checks would present an inconvenience to law-abiding citizens that would save lives.

Support for the Act divides simply – anyone that can pass a background check should support this bill. If you can’t pass a background check, or make money selling guns to people that can’t, you should oppose it.

I have been researching this topic for some time now, for coursework and out of my own concern. My upcoming documentary “Loophole” will engage this important public safety issue in more depth.

In December, and again in February, the lax laws of other states put our campus in danger. Massachusetts has strict gun laws, and has essentially closed the loophole. However, that is severely undermined when easy access to guns is but a short drive away. According to the Boston Globe, firearms from New Hampshire gun shows are in high demand among gang members on the streets of Boston. Action on the federal level is crucial for abrupt change. Even in a bitterly divided political climate, selling guns to criminals and the dangerously mentally ill is something we can all agree is morally wrong.

I turned my weapon in to local police. I committed no crime. I chose to expose the loophole, rather than take predatory advantage of it. Unfortunately, I fear that not everyone makes the same choice.

92 Responses to “How a UMass student bought a gun without I.D.”
  1. me says:

    Where was this video recorded?

  2. me says:

    Also, were you asked anything when you purchased the shotgun? Name, residence, age, etc?

  3. Chuckles says:

    Wow Tyler, are you serious or just a troll?

    A bullet proof vest and a big knife? Yeah, that’s going to be real effective so long an armed assailant shoots you exactly in the chest. What about an armed assailant with a bat or a knife as well? Would you really rather have a knife when attacked with a knife or would you rather have a gun?
    It’s fine if you truly believe that guns aren’t necessary for self-defense, but practice that yourself and don’t try to apply it to other people.

    “The whole purpose of having a civilization is to act civilized. Shooting someone is not civilized behavior. Other non-lethal responses are civilized. So the self defense argument is out the window.”
    I think allowing private citizens to protect their lives and the lives of those around them via force or a threat thereof is very civilized. It would be uncivilized to disarm the citizenry and leave them at the mercy of armed criminals. Defensive gun uses also aren’t usually lethal. Studies have shown that anywhere from 500,000 – 2 million times per year a gun is used in self-defense and the vast majority of those occurances being a mere brandishing of a weapon. Criminals are usually cowards who prey on the weak and when they break down a door and find themselves looking down the barrel of a shotgun they aren’t going to risk their life for a TV, they’re going to run. The self-defense argument is certanly not “out the window”. People have the right to self defense, like it or not. Many states have recognized this with Castle Doctrine laws and “Stand your Ground” laws.

    “Handguns can carry 12+ rounds with easily replaceable clips. That means I can shoot 12 people from across the street in the time it takes a guy to tackle one dude and hit him upside the head with a bat. Does this sound “civilized” to you? Does it sound ethical to allow human beings access to this kind of killing ability?”
    So why do you only seem to want to take handguns away from private citizens? In Massachusetts private citizens aren’t allowed to have handgun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (with some exceptions), and yet the police walk around with 3+ magazines that hold 15-17 rounds.

    “Since they have such a destructive capability to kill multiple people from far away in a short amount of time, I advocate that THAT is their intention, and the only REAL use they are made for”
    So in your view police are killing-machines who intend to kill 40+ people on any given moment?
    Or do cops have guns to defend themselves and others when faced with a lethal threat? Kind of like a private citizen should have.

    “Freedom is about the ability to go your own way, do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm others. I make the case that handguns specifically are too dangerous to be included in this”
    So I should have the freedom to own my guns as long as I don’t harm others. Agreed! If I choose to abuse that freedom and use a handgun maliciously, the government will take away my freedom and put my in the clink. Sounds logical.
    Handguns are not latently dangerous. If they were gun shows would be the deadlist places on earth.
    Not only that but most handgun murders happen in areas with very very low rates of handgun ownership. Hmmm.

    “Like completely banning handguns (and then actively enforcing it) in order to help prevent violent crime.”
    Yeah, banning handguns did wonders for the DC crime rate.

    Also how is a handgun more dangerous in your mind than, say, a .308 rifle. The rifle is much much more powerful, accurate, and long ranged. Of course you want to ban them all, but I’m just saying.

    “Do you even realize how idiotic your arguments sound? If it was ONLY soldiers with guns, yes, a fully armed citizenry could overtake them. 99 vs 1, I’ll take those odds. But 99 people with shotguns vs a heavily armed tank? No way. You need armor piercing depleted uranium (which I don’t think the public is allowed to get their hands on).”
    Yeeeeah….. guerilla warfare has never proven effective….
    You seem totally ignorant of asymmetrical warfare.

  4. Warthog says:

    You left out one important fact in your story. The mass shootings you mentioned? Those all took place in gun free zones. One more law is not going to stop these things from happening. Making something that is already illegal even more illegal isn’t going to stop these things from happening. There are bad people with bad intentions out there and restricting the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves only creates a bigger victim pool for the bad people.

  5. E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

    Question: What is the minimum age for legally purchasing a handgun under federal law?

    Answer: And this will surprise most of you, the age is eighteen. Yeah, I know you thought it was 21 but that is the requirement for handguns sold by licensed dealers. Non-dealer private sales don’t come under this law. State laws vary and a few restrict the age to 21 but most do not.

    Can’t go along with this? My source is US Attorney/prosecutor Ed Yarbrough, Nashville, TN. He was asked by a reporter if the girl who shot Steve McNair violated the law by purchasing a handgun while she was twenty years old. “No, minimum age for the purchase was eighteen”.

  6. Jim in Houston says:

    The seller did NOT commit a crime. He is NOT obligated to check ID, regardless of what the cop said. However, it is a felony to transfer a gun to a person who he knows (or has reason to know) is a prohibited person. If he doesn’t know, then the sale is legal.

    That being said, I would never sell a firearm to anybody without a copy of their driver’s license and a signed affidavit averring that they were not a prohibited person.

  7. Orygunner says:

    Tyler wrote:
    “Let me take a moment to educate everyone on what the terms “freedom”, “rights”, and “liberty” mean.”

    Tyler then lists a lot of BS “progressive” opinions, none of which I’ve ever seen in the writings of the framers of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

    Frankly, Tyler, your total anti-gun bias is showing. You simply don’t like guns, so instead of examining the issue logically, you “cherry pick” whatever facts and beliefs you want to back up that guns are bad, evil little things that nobody should have.

    That’s OK, we get it. You think our inalienable rights come from man, so man can just take them away again. That opinion isn’t backed up by any of the writings of the founding fathers of this country, OR any Supreme Court decision that I’ve ever read. If you’ve got some evidence besides “progressive” definitions of rights and liberty that our right to keep and bear arms is invented by man, please provide it.

    To claim that because handguns were invented by man then the right to have them never existed before that is silly. That makes as much sense as trying to claim that a computer and a printer isn’t protected under freedom of the press because they weren’t invented yet. There’s no right to own handguns specifically, it’s a right to own ARMS, which includes handguns. Why don’t you look up the definition.

    Tyler wrote:
    “Freedom is about the ability to go your own way, do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm others. I make the case that handguns specifically are too dangerous to be included in this. The same way that drunk driving is against the law. Sure, if you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are that the only person you’ll hurt is yourself – but the fact remains that it IS dangerous. A lawful handgun owner with a permit IS lawful – until they point it at another person and pull the trigger. This happens hundreds of times a year. I propose eliminating the option in the first place.”

    What an astounding lack of logic! You don’t actually make any case at all that handguns are “too dangerous” because you fail to be objective and compare any positive benefits with your perceived negative ones. You fail to consider how the “hundreds of times a year” that otherwise good people screw up compares to the 80 MILLION gun owners who don’t. You fail to understand that the REST of violent firearm related crime is perpetrated by repeat offenders who’ve already shown their disrespect for the law – if they’re willing to break the law and hurt other people, they sure aren’t going to bother obeying your handgun ban either. All a ban would do is deprive good people from the most effective means of self defense.

    By the way the drunk driving comparison is very poor. It’s perfectly legal to drive drunk on your own property. it’s public roads you’re not allowed on, because driving on them is a PRIVILEGE, not a right.

    Thankfully, there’s FEWER people that believe as you do, as the truth is slowly getting out there. Gun control laws are being rolled back all over the country, and the rights of gun owners is working its way back to “shall not be infringed.” Get used to it.

  8. Adam says:

    Tyler, you talk a lot. You said a lot of good things, but you also said some pretty dumb things. Sure keeping handguns away from criminals would be a great thing, but you can’t do it. You can’t stop all the people all the time from doing any given thing. It’s never worked; banning alcohol, drugs and guns have always failed at achieving even their nominal goals, and certainly never achieved their ultimate goals. Banning murder, rape, fraud, stealing or anything else never worked either. Pick up a newspaper if you don’t believe me. However, let’s look at your specific claim.

    You advocate “completely banning handguns (and then actively enforcing it) in order to help prevent violent crime.” In England, they did just that. They even went a step further and banned the ownership of long guns as well for the vast majority of cases (read the very well connected can still go duck hunting). The Firearms Act of 1997 and its subsequent amendment banned the possession of handguns. The intentional homicide rate (we trying to stop people from killing each other, right) in England and Wales was 1.24 per 100,000 in 1997. In 1998, the first year the ban was in effect the intentional homicide rate was 1.43 per 100,000, an increase of 15%. Since then the intentional homicide rate has ranged from 1.37 to 1.62 per 100,000 as of 2006, an increase over 1997 of between 10% and 30%. Prior to the ban from 1990 to 1997, the intentional homicide rate ranged from 1.09 to 1.28 per 100,000 so 1997 wasn’t an unusually low year. All these numbers are available in Wikipedia and I checked the sources for accuracy so these are numbers are valid and readily available. The moral of the story: at best banning handguns had no positive effect on how many people were killed and at worst it increased the number of people that were killed. How’s that for philosophical? The reality is that banning handguns doesn’t represent a safeguard for society and may even pose a danger therefore banning handguns is immoral. It’s been tried. It is still being tried. It hasn’t worked.

    Maybe fewer people were killed with firearms. I’m not going to invest even more time to find that breakdown, but what matters is that more people were intentionally killed by their fellow human beings after the handgun ban than before by a significant amount. If the fact that a larger proportion of them were stabbed or beaten to death instead of shot amounts to a victory for you, you are sick.

    There simply is no substitute for the handgun for self defense at this time. It allows one to defend oneself against many and the weak or infirm to defend against the physically stronger. All of the closest current less-lethal alternatives are either insufficient or unavailable to the common civilian. For example, the projectile tasers that police use are a possible alternative. They allow you to engage your attacker without letting him get within arms length. However, those are pretty well universally unavailable to civilians. They’re only for police (which are civilians too but somehow still get special rights and privileges, but that is a topic for another time). Sure you can have the handheld type where you have to touch it to your attacker, but how does that help a 60 year old woman when her 20 year old attacker avoids it and overpowers her anyway, or how does it help an athletic 20 year old male when assaulted by multiple likewise physically capable males? It doesn’t. Even the projectile police style tasers don’t help in the case of multiple attackers or if you miss. One shot and that’s it. Technically there is a 3 shot version now, but 3 shots still doesn’t compare to a 6 – 19 shot capacity and you can’t just reload a taser on the spot. There simply is no currently available (I can’t comment on or utilize phasers and light sabers that may or may not become available in the future) suitable, less-lethal alternatives to the handgun.

    If that doesn’t convince you of the validity of civilian ownership of handguns, then I don’t know what to say to you. If you find the idea of killing another person in defense of yourself or others to be morally reprehensible in all circumstances there is really nothing I can say that will change your mind. Once you’ve decided that a 110lb woman raped, strangled and dumped in an alley is morally superior to the 110lb woman telling police about why she had to shoot the 200lb man that tried to stuff her into a van, you are a lost cause. You just can’t reason with that kind deranged logic.

  9. Dave says:

    “Mass shootings are a far too common occurrence in the United States. In March and April of 2009 alone, such shootings claimed 53 lives, according to the Associated Press.”

    Since you are researching this subject, please include details as to how many of the mass shootings occurred in places where guns were disallowed. Also include how many of the firearms were purchased from private sellers at gun shows.

    I expect the answers to be essentially 100% and 0% respectively. If this is the case, then you shouldn’t be using the mass shootings as a lead-in to your gun show “loophole” arguments.

  10. Mike says:

    I was just thinking.. I wonder if the Gun Free School Zones Act applies – if he drove that shotgun around in a locked container, or if he made sure to stay 1000 feet away from any schools. If not, then he found another way to become an insta-felon.

    The problem isn’t not enough gun laws. The problem is throwing more and more useless gun laws on, without enforcing any of the ones already there.

  11. Matt says:

    Well Tyler, I like your attempted argument that I could just buy a taser to protect myself. I’d actually rather do that than shoot someone for trying to rob me at knife-point. However, our great state of Massachusetts has decided that tasers are more dangerous than handguns; possession of a taser by citizens is a felony. Permits are required to even have pepper spray/mace.

    Do some research before you start trying to take away my handguns. And if someone is trying to rob you with a gun or a knife, I hate to break it to you Tyler but a slingshot isn’t going to help you.

  12. BK says:

    Wow Orygunner do you where do you think the right to own a gun comes from? You do realize that if the second amendment was not written in the constitution we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The MEN who wrote the constitution put the second amendment gave you the right to own a gun. And guess what the only reason that its a privilege to drive on public roads and not a right is because our government says so. Man can give and take away rights. What do you think prohibition was? I know that prohibition failed but that just shows even more how rights can be given and taken away.

  13. woof* says:

    Fail BK,
    The Founding Fathers stated our rights are God given.
    You seem like a bright young man, it saddens me and makes me wonder what went wrong with your upbringing and education. I see you put all that research and energy into the subject, but you have lost the plot somehow.
    I suggest you read our Constitution,Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers.These documents will get you started in the right direction.

  14. Tyler says:

    I don’t believe in God, therefore in my world, “Rights” are not God given, regardless of what the founding fathers wrote.

    I also don’t have a blind sense of patriotism. I have a sense of humanism. And since our government is made of humans – and humans can and do, fail – I understand that the legal system isn’t divine and without flaws.

    Laws change.

    In pre-history there was NO source of government.
    In medieval times the government was “divine rule” of kings and queens. (They thought God was on their side too, but we know better now)
    It used to be legal to own slaves – and work them to death.
    Women never used to be able to vote.
    Alcohol was outlawed, then re-allowed.
    Marijuana is currently outlawed, but there is a huge movement to allow it. Why if it’s currently illegal? Because opinions change.

    I can go on and on. I really hope you get the point. Humans make laws, not God. Since the opinions within a society change, the laws then change.

    If you notice however, the vast majority of these changes have been “good” like outlawing slavery of other humans. I’d like to think this means we’re getting smarter as we go. So I’m hoping that when the majority of you fact-twisting, ignorant, intolerant, gun-loving peanut gallery reach a sufficient stage of intellectual evolution. you’ll recognize that handguns don’t make for a better, safer, higher quality of life.

  15. Tyler says:


    If merely “brandishing your weapon” prevents the vast majority of attacks, as most of you claim – THEN BUY A WELL-MADE REPLICA.

  16. Tyler says:

    I can see I’ve made no impact on any of you, and likely never will. I’m through legitimizing your comments by merely responding to them. So far I haven’t read a single response that I would describe as genuinely intelligent.

    Seeya later, I’m through wasting my life on this discussion.

  17. Tyler says:

    I wasn’t going to post again – I really wasn’t. Except some of your comments really struck a chord with me.

    You claim that the “Right” to own a gun is God-given Right.

    Please point me to the correct Bible verse condoning handgun use against another person, regardless of whether it is self defense or not. No? Can’t find it? Bummer.

    Oh, but you say it’s in the Bill of Rights and the writers said it’s granted by God? Really? They spoke with the big guy? He said, “Go ye forth and shoot thy mugger?” Oh, that’s right! Most of the “Founding Fathers” weren’t even religious at all!

    But it’s for self defense! Surely God doesn’t want us to just lay down and take the abuse! Umm, actually he does. Turn the other cheek? I seem to remember that from somewhere. But let’s throw that part away. Well I want to defend myself, like, totally super awesomely. So why can’t I have a rocket launcher? It’s included in the “arms” category. No, it’s not a small armament, but the exact wording simply says “arms”. For that matter, why are fully automatic rifles illegal? Why can’t I own a tank? Or hand grenades? Do you see the problem here? MAN, not God, is creating the law.

    And what about separation of Church and State? By your argument it is a REQUIREMENT that I believe in God – and not just any God, YOUR God – if I’m to take any legal document seriously. How is that separate in any way, shape, or form? Oh, right, it’s not.

    And what about other countries? Because their laws are different than ours, and our laws are defined by God, are they all sinners? Is England a sinful country for banning firearms? Is every English citizen going to Hell, or just the politicians who wrote that law?

    I can’t believe that you think you’re making an intellectually superior argument. I can’t even believe that you actually take yourself seriously. What you wrote = God says we have the Divine Right to own a handgun, correct? That’s not a rational thought pattern. That’s insanity.

    Stop. Being. Ignorant. It pisses the rest of us off.

  18. Mr Data says:

    Tyler + banning handguns = a defensless society where you are praying the cops get there in time or else………………

  19. Mr Data says:

    (bold text fail)

  20. Mr Data says:

    You don’t have to believe in God to defeand fireamrs but respect otherpeople’s rights to believe in God to defend firearms.

    We cannot control your personal problems resulting in you free-will of (choosing) to not believe in God as a result of your limited 3rd dimension experiences.

  21. Tyler says:

    Mr Data says:
    March 6, 2010 at 5:56 am

    You don’t have to believe in God to defeand fireamrs but respect otherpeople’s rights to believe in God to defend firearms.

    We cannot control your personal problems resulting in you free-will of (choosing) to not believe in God as a result of your limited 3rd dimension experiences.

    Urgggh? Tarzan not understand.

    #1 Typo city
    #2 There are 4 dimensions – time gets included
    #3 Law is separate from religion. The end. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    #4 I’m done with this thread. People like you literally make me feel like I’m going to vomit.

  22. The Bullet says:

    Switzerland has so little gun crime that its government doesn’t bother recording gun crime statistics, yet it has about the same gun ownership as the US (though a US gun owner is bound to own more guns then their swiss counterpart). Why is this?

  23. Daniel Entrikin says:

    @Dave- The pentagon shooter that injured two police officers recently purchased his gun at a Las Vegas gun show. He was adjudicated mentally ill. A background check would have exposed that and stopped the sale. None was required.

    Firearms traffickers Michael Fowler and Stanley Jenkins were able to purchase guns without a background check in NH and ME and sell them illegally on the streets of Boston. The current system of private sales is easy for firearms traffickers to abuse. In fact, most crime guns in Massachusetts are trafficked from Maine.

    Hopefully HR 2324 would treat Uncle Henry’s similarly to a gun show, and require background checks on every private sale there as well.

    @The Bullet- I don’t think Switzerland and the U.S. can be compared easily because of differences in overall crime, gang violence, and the drug trade.

  24. Chuckles says:


    You’re a walking cliché of the self-righteous ‘know-nothing know-it-all’ who doesn’t let his total ignorance of a topic stop him from espousing his beliefs on it.
    It would be funnier if you weren’t a college student – it makes me a little ashamed to go here.
    I can only hope you’re not poli-sci or pre-law, because then we might be in trouble.
    You’re really just parroting the same-old illogical anti-gun talking points that have been paraded around since the 1980’s, and that didn’t stand up to scrutiny then and don’t now.

    If you read this, I look forward to a response from you regarding my earlier post (Feb 18th). I have popcorn standing by.

    Or don’t; I really don’t care. You’ve made a big enough fool out of yourself to any observer with a grasp of logic and reasoning skills.

  25. Jessica says:

    Daniel, I found your article interesting. I have no clear understanding of these weapons loopholes, but I have been put in a situation of needing to learn more about them because of a person in my life who bought guns at a gun show, had no firearms license at all, and then tried to kill some people. Yes, he will probably do some prison time, but then he will get out and he will get more guns. He also has an enabler who will not only get him out on parole as soon as possible, but will finance this. I can see by what your research says that he will most certainly be able to do this even with a felony conviction, I think.

    Would it be true that if he went to a NH gun show, showed id from NH, and bought guns, that his criminal record will not be checked? Would that be because some dealers are breaking the law and not checking id or because they literally have no requirement at all at these gun shows to check criminal history?

    He also has a negative mental health background. That will not be checked either?

    I’m sorry if I didn’t follow the information you presented.

    I am also very sorry to note that this individual spouts the same raving insanity as Chuckles and the others (minus any Bible or religious commentary) because this individual thinks he has the “right” to control people, intimidate people, threaten people with his guns and kill people.

    Unfortunately I feel that I am looking into the future and I can already feel the disaster that is coming, and has only been narrowly averted this time.

  26. Jessica says:

    I also realize after reading your article that I am sure that this individual intends to become a private seller.

  27. Manwise Bill says:

    I don’t think self defense with a gun is so simple. Yes, there may be some specific instances where it is useful, like a home invasion that you have the wherewithal to respond to.
    But how many times will it be useful in other situations? Even when the other person doesn’t have a gun. If somebody is going to mug you on the street, you think that while they’re holding you up, you’re going to whip out your concealed weapon and fight them off?
    Imagine you’re being held at knifepoint or gunpoint, the heroics involved with pulling out a gun or something at that moment require training and preparation that the vast majority of people just don’t have, and involve risk even for those who are highly trained.
    Even in a home invasion, you’re going to wake up, get your gun, and go confront the person stealing your tv? Who you hope doesn’t have a gun and shoot you first? Yes, that outcome is possible, but I think at least as possible is that it turns out badly.
    I don’t know if outlawing guns outright is a good answer, I’m not saying that it is. I just wanted to point out that the “I have a gun, so now I can protect myself and be safe” argument is not as simple as it sounds.
    People who wish to inflict crime and harm on other people are not so courteous as to say “Hi, I’m going to commit a crime, so if you have a gun, get it ready to deter me.”

    There are people trained to stop and respond to crime, and they by and large do a good job. I do think in situations of a home invasion or a stick up, it is better to call the police. The risk of responding by attacking the perpetrator seems, to me, to outweigh the possible benefit in the vast majority of cases.

    It is unsettling to think that any of us could be victimized at any time, but the truth is, if someone is intent on attacking or stealing from us, they can find a way to do it, and owning a gun doesn’t change that, no matter how secure it makes us feel.

  28. Daniel Entrikin says:

    Jessica- Thanks for your comment, and I’m very sorry for your situation. I find your post very alarming.

    When I purchased a gun, the seller committed a crime by not checking that I was 21 and a NH resident. He was not required to run a background check, being a private seller. This video summarizes the ‘loophole’ well.

    I hope this person can be rehabilitated and leave behind a life of violence. Until background checks are required on all guns sold at shows, there isn’t an easy solution to your problem. Certainly, do not tell this person anything about gun shows or private sales. Please contact the ATF or police if you have any questions or useful information for them.

    It would be helpful for you to call your representative in support of HR 2324- “The gunshow loophole closing act of 2009”, seeing as you have a very compelling story.

  29. Mike says:

    >> “There’s no right to own handguns specifically, it’s a right to own ARMS, which includes handguns. Why don’t you look up the definition.”

    Oh, cool. Can I buy an inter-continental ballistic missile, then? And some heavy artillery would be nice, too. I just don’t feel safe without it.

    I mean, think about it: if criminals knew that their victims could retaliate by pounding their entire neighborhood into dust or hitting their family with a tactical nuclear weapon, the crime rate would be REALLY low! Right?

  30. Nikolaj says:

    I Believe as a European or rather, a Dane writing an essay on American guncontrol. that not having guns does not equal a defenseless soceity, rather. Here in little Denmark in a city with about ten thousand we have about one or two gunmurders per year? But in USA that number could just aswell be about fifthy or in some cases. A Hundred. Sure, its just mugger’s and people without gun’s goin’? Thats all fine and dandy isnt it? Personally i believe that even muggers are human and can become well working citizens again. The reason that USA has so many filled prisons and so many Gunshootings isnt because lack of guns. Its because they have about 97 guns for each 100 citizen.

  31. Chuckles says:

    Thanks for the made-up story!

    Wow, really compelling use of sarcasm.
    It would be so much better if you actually had a point.

  32. Ce7en says:

    Tyler, I’d like to say I respect the points you are trying to make. I personally do not own a gun but, I fully and whole heartedly support the rights of people to own them. I tell you this not because I am going to argue for owning firearms because, that is a pointless argument both sides have their beliefs deeply ingrained and nothing either will say to the other will change anything. There are certain views that one will stick to regardless of how compelling a statement that is made by a person of the opposing viewpoint is: Abortion, Religion and Gun Control are a few. A change in viewpoint has to come from oneself in those matters and for me to sit here telling you the reasons guns have a place in society or to tell the other side why they do not would be futile. Now on to the real reply I wished to make.

    While I was reading through I felt the need to comment on the ‘God given rights’ argument being made by others and your rebuttals, both sides are missing the point.

    Tyler, you correctly point out that most of the founding fathers were atheist or at least atheist leaning agnostic. That particular statement in the constitution and bill of rights is not the important part, its the intent of the wording. The statement that these rights are given by “God” really translates to the fact that they are innate rights that all men and women are born with. We are talking about a document written in the 1790’s and to make it understood by the common individual saying the rights were God given was a very easy way to say they are innate rights. Regardless of ones social position, race, age etc. one could understand that. Merriam-Webster defines Innate as “existing in, belonging to, or determined by factors present in an individual from birth” an uneducated farmer would not know the definition of innate, to make the Constitution accessible to all people it is said the rights are “God given”. Dwelling on the usage of “God” is a moot point, both sides of are focusing on the individual words and not the statement and the idea behind it.

    I to am an Athiest as well but, I am aware enough about the history of society and open minded enough to see the true intent of the statements made in the constitution. The usage of the word God is not inflammatory to me, to a person of faith it literally means God given, to an atheist it translates to innate.

  33. Dan says:

    What it all boils down to people is if guns didnt excist people would just be killing other people with something else,they always have and they always will.I am pro gun and i will always be pro gun.I feel very sorry for these anti gun fools.I would much rather have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.Go ahead and and get yourself a nice replica of a real gun,let me know how it turns out when a drugged out lunatic starts coming at you with a knife because he sure the hell wont care what your holding(you better care).It wont be pretty when your on the losing end of it that much i promise.Do me a favor leave me in your will.WAKE UP.

  34. charleton says:

    I just want to clear some things up: Here is the law

    A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may sell or transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

    [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

    There is nothing special about a gunshow other than the fact that it is a place where people who sell guns congregate to meet with people who buy them. If you buy a gun from a gun show, from one of the dealers, they do the NICS check right there. I know this because I bought two guns 3 weeks ago at a gun show. There is no loophole. The OP should be talking about private sales, also called face to face transfers, where no NICS check is required. He should have done better research.

  35. Daniel Entrikin says:

    @ Charleton—I did mention private sales in the article. I bought my gun in a private sale, which did not require a background check. That is what the term “loophole” refers to- a sale from any FFL requires a NCIS criminal background check. Note that I titled my film “Loophole” rather than “Gun Show Loophole”, and I acknowledge that private sales can take place in locations other than gun shows. Online classifieds such as Uncle Henry’s in Maine are another way of arranging private sales, one which convicted gun traffickers like Stanley Jenkins and Michael Fowler took advantage of.

  36. Zach says:

    The seller did not commit a federal felony by not asking for your ID.

    It might be wise to verify you’re a state resident, and over 18 but he isn’t required too.

    If you disagree, please cite the law. You won’t because there is none.

    You however DID commit a federal felony by purchasing a firearm out of state, from a private seller.

  37. jonathan says:

    I see a lot of disinformation in this thread on both sides. First of all there is no such thing as a gunshow loophole. When people say this they are referring to the private sale of firearms between citizens that do not hold a federal firearms license. Yes, while at the gun show the man should have checked his id because both must reside in the same state. Background checks are only done by federal firearms license holders. In my state of connecticut, a state similar to mass with restrictive gun laws you must have a pistol permit to buy a handgun. Private sales of handguns must be between two pistol permit holders and they must call the department of public safety to get an authorization number. That is for handguns only. Rifles can be bought or sold privately with no paperwork. If you have reason to believe the person shouldn’t own guns then you shouldn’t sell it to him.

    I see nothing wrong with what the author did and it doesn’t worry me in the slightest bit that he bought a shotgun at a gunshow lol. I own 7 rifles, 2 handguns and one gun regulated by the national firearms act. None of my guns have killed anyone by accident or on purpose. I don’t see that ever happening unless someone threatens my life or the lives of my family/friends. I do carry my pistol with me at all times. Why not consider the lives saved by private citizen gun ownership.

    How many medicated soccer moms in suvs have killed people by hitting their small compact cars. I don’t think suvs are needed either. Im also not on the warpath to ban suvs. Who are you to say what we can and cannot own?

  38. Miki Mcgraph says:

    @admin: I just have to say your site is the first I’ve come across this morning that doesn’t have spelling errors every other line. Thanks for taking the time to write something that doesn’t look like a 6th grader put together. I apologize, just had to vent.

  39. Gina says:

    Interesting article. As a survivor of domestic violence I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be here today if my perpetrator had had easy access to a firearm. Sure, some people keep guns responsibly and some don’t (there are more than 50,000 fire-arm related injuries and deaths every year in the U.S.). But your article highlights some really critical issues. I would just like to know why people who are anti-gun control want even fewer limitations to purchasing weapons. Why should every person, regardless of his or her criminal history or history of instiutionalization be permitted access to one of the most effective and dangerous tools there are?

  40. Johnathan says:

    @Gina: I’m glad that you are a survivor of domestic violence, but what stopped your assailant from using a knife, or a baseball bat? Is a firearm the only weapon that could have been used against you? A knife is just as effective at killing a person as a gun. In fact its more effective because its silent.

    I honestly believe that you would still be here today if your assailant had easy access to a firearm. If he wanted to cause you harm there are much easier ways than using a firearm.

    This may be a surprise to you, but criminals do not follow laws. Laws take away freedoms from the law abiding citizens.

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  42. BobTheTomatoe says:

    If you bought a gun without showing ID I believe you committed a felony.

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