N.Y. AG announces safety agreements with two gun show operators

By Bryan Cohen | Nov 29, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced agreements on Thursday with two gun show operators to institute new background check procedures at their New York state gun shows.

The Chautauqua County-based Niagara Frontier Collectors Inc. and the Saratoga County-based NEACA Inc. agreed to implement new procedures that go beyond the requirements of the state's Gun Show Law. One procedure includes making sure that all guns brought to the show by private sellers are tagged so operators can ensure that proper background checks are performed on sold guns.

Schneiderman's office worked with the gun show operators to develop the procedures to protect the rights of sportsmen and gun collectors and protect the public from the sale of guns to people who cannot pass a background check.

The agreement follows an eight-month undercover operation called Operation Background Bust in which members of Schneiderman's office purchased guns at shows without a background check.

"Our investigation demonstrated how the 'off the books' sale of guns presents a great risk to public safety," Schneiderman said. "This agreement builds upon our work by holding gun show operators responsible for the purchases made at their events. Gun violence is an epidemic, and my office is working with gun show operators to create simple guidelines to ensure that these deadly weapons don't make it into the hands of felons, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill and others that could not pass a background check. It's a win-win for public safety and the Constitution."

Under the terms of the agreement, the gun show operators must post conspicuous signs related to background checks throughout the shows, require that all guns brought into the show by private sellers are tagged, inform all gun show staff of the requirements for posting signs and conducting background checks with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, provide access to a dealer authorized to conduct a NICS at cost, limit the number of access doors, use reasonable means to prevent illegal gun sales outside of the building, alert local law enforcement to the presence of the gun show, and call local law enforcement if illegal sales are suspected or observed.

Schneiderman plans to work individually with other gun show operators in New York to create additional oversight of the gun-buying process and advocates uniform procedures on the state level. If legislation is passed, New York would be the first state in the U.S. to have guidelines reflecting gun owners and the government working together for safe gun ownership.

A person who fails an NICS background check may not purchase or possess a gun under federal law. The background check ensures that gun buyers have not been convicted of a felony, adjudicated as mental defective or committed to a mental institution, convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces. The check also makes sure that gun buyers are not illegally or unlawfully in the country and are not subject to a court order restraining the person from stalking, harassing or threatening an intimate partner or a child of the intimate partner.

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