Note to FFLs: this is an example of how not to do social media.
The proprietor of On Target Guns, 560 N. Nellis Blvd. in Las Vegas, wants you to boycott gun shows over private sales/background checks. After the second post (see below), I tempered my feelings as it appeared this was really a dispute over business (private dealers selling more cheaply), but that is not the case. There has been much back-and-forth on Facebook in the past view days over these controversial statements. Let's dissect each post, one by one, and I'll show you the thinking behind my opinion.
First, in this post there are two problems, according to On Target. 1, "unlicensed dealers" are selling guns. 2, that these sales (and it is implied other private sales) are being done without background checks.
Unlicensed dealers are problematic, but only for themselves. It is illegal to sell an arbitrary number of guns that the ATF considers "too many" without being licensed as a firearms dealer. In a free country where the Second Amendment is as respected as the first, these unlicensed dealers doing business openly in gun shows (rather than out of a trunk or drug house) have every right to sell their guns to whoever they want (in good conscience of course) in whatever quantity they want. You don't ban someone from selling books at a flea market and tell them to get a business license. These unlicensed dealers can and do get themselves in deep trouble for their business, but again, that's their problem.
If I want a good deal on a gun that's off the books that's my prerogative. If I can get a good deal on a gun because someone else doesn't have the markup and overhead that an FFL has to deal with, even better.
Now these unlicensed dealers with better prices than the gun store are competition for brick and mortar FFLs. I'd hate the competition too as much as I, as a consumer, hate seeing table after table of FFLs at gun shows. I come for the private sale guns, not stuff from some traveling salesman from out-of-state. I'd rather support my local gun store owned by someone who doesn't make posts like this on Facebook.
Second, we've had the background checks debate. Background checks do little to prevent actual crime or keep guns out of the hands of bad guys. Most guns used in violence went through a background check; the killer suddenly snapped or their evil went undetected. All background checks are is a nice little security blanket to make people feel better.
Background checks are a way of enforcing gun registration by tracking them through purchase and transfer. This cuts off the supply of "unknown" guns that can't be identified and hidden when confiscation starts. When everyone must declare and register their guns, what'll happen is dealers will be required to turn over the Form 4473s, which will be scanned and input into a database. Ownership can be easily identified and tracked at that point.
The Facebook comments exploded, basically accusing the owner of not supporting the Second Amendment and only looking out for his profits. He offers an excuse in this reply that his beef was with the unlicensed dealers selling at higher prices, not private sales, but then goes into "the bad guys."
Once again, the issue is with no background checks. Sure, gun owners and dealers do look bad when someone commits a heinous crime with a gun, but as we known, private sales in the context that universal background checks would regulate are not the problem. It's some shady guy selling guns out of his trunk or people outright stealing them.
As I said before, I don't care at this point what makes us look bad. Guns and gun owners have already been demonized as bad as they have been in history. Criminals will obtain firearms via any means and statistics have shown gun shows and Internet classifieds are in the minority. So here I see On Target Guns caring more about appearances than fact or actual danger.
"Helping" ourselves by giving in to banning private gun sales at this point won't save anything. We've been giving in for nearly a century hoping that something works and the hoplopaths leave us alone. Each time we give ground, they take more. We're nearing the end game and a civil war, so let's forget about niceties. If they want to take away our guns, then they will do so by whatever means are necessary and they do not need our help as is implied here.
No gun store owner should ever say "It's not about the 2nd. amendment..." This entire post belies ignorance of how criminals obtain guns and how private sales are involved. It is blatant support for banning private gun sales.
We have no way of verifying if "record sales" is even true or if it is in anyway connected to support for the owner's beliefs. All this sounds like is digging the hole deeper.
I will leave it up to you if you choose to boycott On Target Guns. I have chosen a staunch Second Amendment supporting business to buy my FFL guns from and will continue to patronize gun shows to buy privately until I no longer can (which will probably be around July 2019).
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West