Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it
are condemned to repeat it
Records often get scrubbed in order to present a more palatable view of ourselves to ourselves. Along these lines, some recent editions of the writings of Rudyard Kipling and Mark Twain have been sanitized to remove offending racial phrases, but the sanitization is at the cost of historical fealty.
Likewise, the earliest depictions of American colonial life showed Puritans armed with blunderbusses and match lock firearms in their dealings with Native Americans, but these firearms have often been edited out of current pictorial representations. Why is this done, since firearms are legitimate and legal for our citizens, and the possession of such has been integral to our way of life?
The basis of our military was the militias composed of free men armed with weapons of their own acquisition. This morphed into the National Guard, which further benefited our active Army. Our wars have all been fought by citizen soldiers.
As free men, we have the right to buy, sell and trade firearms within a legal framework. However, we seem confused and conflicted on this matter due to modern acts of spectacular violence, gun violence depicted in the entertainment industry and shifting firearms legislation. Take the Gunshow Loophole, for example.
Until 1989 gun shows were off-limits to licensed Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders since their licenses -- by Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) fiat -- could only be used at the licensee's address. However, after the 1989 ruling allowing FFL sales, gun shows were no longer the sole domain of those interested in collector or "Curio and Relic" guns; the shows now took on the aura of a Pakastani gun bazaar.
However, along with the FFL holders and the collectors was a minority of gray area traders, people who straddle the line between collector and dealer. The larger gun shows are self-regulated, with collectors selling curios and relics and FFL holders selling what they sell, which are often mistakenly called "assault rifles" (a true assault rifle fires in the automatic mode.)
Automatic weapons are governed by the National Firearms Act of 1934; they can be legally fired and purchased, but only after one has paid for the appropriate license. Only "Class 3" dealers can conduct the trade, and they may also sell silenced weapons and true assault rifles. These dealers are required to transact all of the required paperwork ensuring that the intended buyer is not in violation of Federal restrictions for ownership of such weapons.
An unlicensed gun show salesman would risk a Federal prosecution by the Firearms Division of the BATFE of the Department of Homeland Security and prison time if he sold a weapon in contravention of local, State and Federal laws. IF gun shows are becoming a clearinghouse for illegal gun transactions, then the BATFE is not doing its job; the show itself is not to blame.
Additional restrictions will not solve the problem if the ATF is not fulfilling its mandate. ATF patrols or should patrol every gun show in the United States.