Loophole Allows Gun Sales Without Background Checks

By: Jeremy Desel, KHOU Email
By: Jeremy Desel, KHOU Email

HOUSTON -- The debate about possible gun control measures has caused a run on guns at gun stores in the Houston area.

But it is not the gun stores that some lawmakers are concerned about; rather, they are worried about loopholes in current law.

The upcoming Christmas holiday has not caused the shelves to be bare at Jim Pruitt's Guns and Ammo, instead it’s the fear of renewed gun control efforts are cleaning him out.

"The wholesalers are running out,” said Jim Pruett, a gun dealer. “The warehouses are empty.”

The rhetoric is loud.

There are already plenty of ways around federal background checks for guns,” said KHOU 11 News legal expert Gerald Treece. "I'm not sure that it is a loophole as much as it is just a big hole,"
"There are people that just show up at gun shows and they just get their table and they sell their own in ‘private stock,"’ said Treece.

Those are classified as private sales and do not require the federal background checks that licensed gun dealers do.

"In a perfect world, you are an honest person,” said Matt Suddeth, a Houston area gun owner. “I am an honest person, so let’s do an honest deal. But not everybody is honest."

Suddeth said while the loophole could create access to guns for those who should not have them, it also makes plenty of legitimate purchasers leery.

"You purchase a gun from an individual at a gun show, he swears up and down there is no problem with it. You use your firearm to defend yourself or your family and the police come and they find the serial number was reported as stolen or used in a crime," said Suddeth.

No matter where the guns are coming from -- dealers or private sales -- the run is on.

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