The Liberal Lie: The Mythical Gun Show Loophole


In the Seinfeld episode, ‘The Beard’, Jerry is dating a cop who wants him to take a lie detector test because she thinks he’s lying about not watching ‘Melrose Place.’ Jerry appeals to his friend George Costanza, an expert in the art of lying for help. He wants George to teach him how to lie well enough to fool the test. George says he’s not capable of passing on such skills in that amount of time but does leave Jerry with this one piece of advice:

“It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

Ironically, this is exactly what liberals do in the midst of the debate about guns. They have told so many lies about guns that over time their lies simply become something they repeat over and over again to the point where they have convinced themselves it is true despite all evidence to the contrary. One might venture a guess to say they were crazy, but doing so gets them off the hook for their lies.

The lie that is told over and over again is the gun show “loophole” lie. On a website ironically called Forward Progressive, writer Manny Schewitz writes a piece where he accuses The Federalist Senior Editor, David Harsanyi of lying when he referred to gun control advocates as liars.

Without a hint of self awareness, Schewitz goes on to repeat the big lie (making him a person who is lying about somebody he accuses of lying for saying gun control advocates are lying):

The ironic thing here is that David Harsanyi is lying to back up his claim that Democrats are lying about guns. He specifically says toward the end of the piece, ‘There is no gun show loophole.’ This is a popular conservative talking point that’s been debunked numerous times. California is one of only 7 states that require background checks on all gun purchases at gun shows, but the loophole still exists almost everywhere else and has not been addressed at the federal level thanks to Republican obstruction.

In other words, the gun show loophole is a very real thing. I personally have walked into a gun show here in Lafayette, pulled out my ID and credit card to purchase a hunting rifle, only to be told it was cash only and the seller didn’t care to know anything about me. Legally, he was not required to perform the background check because he was a private seller, and because I was paying cash, there would be no record of the transaction or transfer of ownership.

Manny should probably look up the word irony because as he is attempting to make the case Harsanyi is lying, he manages to point out the truth without even realizing it.

Here is the core problem: The left has no idea what a loophole is. 

A loophole is a way of getting around a particular law or regulation without actually violating the law to do it. Here are two examples:

  • In 2005, in Calvert County Maryland, Wal-Mart wanted to build one of their stores there. However. they were hindered by a restriction that did not allow for any retail space to be larger than 75,000 square feet. Wal-Mart had proposed getting around this regulation by building two separate smaller stores that would be right next to each other.
  • In New Jersey, The Farmland Assessment Act was passed in 1964 to encourage more farming. The law allowed for people exempt themselves of up to 98% of their property taxes just so long as they were earning $500 or more per year on more than 5 acres of land. Wealthy people, including rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen pay little in property taxes because their land was used for “farming.” Bon Jovi raised honey bees and Springsteen sold fire wood. One of Bon Jovi’s tax bills for 7 acres of land was $104.

Those are true loopholes. The gun show “loophole” does not exist because there is no way for a person who is ineligible to own or possess a firearm to obtain one legally. There are exceptions such as antique firearms, but for the sake of argument, the assumption is it’s semi-automatic firearms being discussed.

For illustrative purposes, let’s say Manny has a drug conviction on his record that could have gotten him a year in jail. That would make him ineligible to purchase a firearm assuming he hadn’t gotten the record expunged.  As such, the moment he purchased that rifle at the gun show, he was violating the law. In fact, he would be committing a felony that would get him mandatory jail time. This would be the case if he purchased it at a gun show, at a garage sale, from a friend, from  a relative….any scenario.

There is no gun show loophole. Just as there is no garage sale loophole. There is no spouse loophole. There is no uncle loophole. There is no grandfather loophole.

Private sales and transfers of firearms are conducted all the time.

If people like Manny want laws passed that require background checks be performed on all private purchases, then he and other such advocates should say so and then we can have that debate.

But they should stop lying about a non-existent “gun show loophole” they use to scare people into think violent criminals are somehow circumventing the law to legally acquire firearms.