Private gun sellers may soon be required to do background checks on potential buyers at Tucson Convention Center gun shows. The problem is private gun sellers don't have access to the federal background check system.
The Tucson city council will talk about requiring checks for all gun sales at the TCC during their meeting on Tuesday. The requirement will apply to licensed gun dealers as well as private gun sellers who are currently not required to perform background checks on buyers.
Tommy Rompell of Black Weapons Armory says private sellers will have to work with licensed dealers, like him, who can do background checks. He says he can do a background check for a private seller, but it costs money for those checks, and it makes him responsible for any problems that may happen.
tommy rompell/ black weapons armory
"A dealer is going to charge a fee, and I'm going to charge a larger fee because I have to stop my normal business to handle a private transaction. Now I'm also liable for the transaction part of it. If I make a clerical error in my books, or for some reason it's delayed or something, now that burns on me," says Rompell.
Rompell says he usually charges $50 to do a background check for a private seller, but at a gun show, he would likely charge $100.
Changing the rules on gun sales will not only cost private parties, but also city tourism.
Right now three gun shows have tentative dates at the TCC, but organizers are furious at Tucson city council members for proposing private sellers do background checks on potential buyers.
TCC Director Mark Timpf says no gun show contracts have been finalized which means organizers can pull out if they don't want to comply with universal background checks. He says he's notified gun show organizers about the potential changes at the TCC.
While gun shows aren't the biggest money-makers at the TCC, Timpf says the venue stands to lose about $15,000 of revenue for each show. That figure doesn't include the sales tax revenue generated from the gun shows.
"If we have the events contracted within the TCC then we have the space, the revenues that we can realize, and we don't have missed opportunities to book those spaces," says Timpf.
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