Council to consider background checks on all gun sales at TCC

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson city council plans to tackle the so-called gun show loophole.  That's where private gun sellers don't have to do background checks on potential buyers, but licensed gun dealers are required to do the checks.

The Tucson Convention Center hosts a few gun shows every year which include licensed arms dealers and private sellers.  During Tuesday's council meeting, some members will propose an ordinance to require background checks on all buyers, not just those buying from licensed dealers.

"We're not going let just Joe walk up to Tom and say here buy my gun and walk away with it," says council member Steve Kozachik.

"We want to know who's buying guns on city property, and if you're not entitled to buy it because you have felonies in your background, we're not going to participate in it."

McMann's Roadrunner Gun Shows has an event scheduled at the TCC for September.  Owner Lori McMann says 30-percent of her exhibitors are private sellers who are not required to do background checks.  She believes requiring them to do so will discourage them from participating.

"If you lose the private parties that are selling their firearms, other people are not going to book tables because if there's no firearms, the public is not going to attend the gun show," says McMann.

She also says there's no simple way for a private seller to do a background check.

"Because private parties do not have access to the federal background checks system."

Kozachik believes all sellers will find a way to do background checks if they still want to do business with Tucson.

"They can lean to the table next to them, to the federally licensed person, and say here's $20 run the check for me.  Not my problem."

The city council recently demanded the right to ban guns in city parks and property, but because cities are not allowed to make gun restrictions harsher than state restrictions, the effort has not been a success.

Kozachik believes the argument to restrict gun sales at the TCC, which is city property, is valid.  Without background checks on all buyers, he says there is the potential for a felon to purchase a weapon, and the city would unknowingly play a role in that purchase.

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