If stricter gun control laws aren’t passed, the terrorists win. At least, that seems to be the message of a new video ad campaign from one of the country’s most prominent gun-control advocacy groups.
In the fight to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” the Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns is promoting recent statements made by an al Qaeda spokesman in a hefty ad campaign that will run nationally on several major networks.
The video, entitled “What Are You Waiting For?,” features the American-born al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn informing budding terrorists that “America is absolutely awash in easily obtainable firearms. You can go to a gun show and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle. So what are you waiting for?”
“Call your member of Congress,” intones the voice-over. “Tell them to close the loopholes that let terrorists and criminals buy guns.”
While the video may strike a frightful cord in the hearts of law-abiding citizens, the message is a bit misleading. Individuals cannot purchase fully automatic assault rifles at gun shows. The “gun show loophole” allows individuals to purchase and sell certain guns, including semi-automatics, without a federal license (or instant background check) at gun shows. Although they’re not required to have a federal license, many of the guns nevertheless must be registered with an owner.
Terrorist plots aside, the ad echoes talking points gun-control advocates have stressing for years, that “gun show loopholes” allow firearms to fall into the hands of criminals. A 2001 report from the National Institute of Justice, however, found that 45 percent of those already banned from purchasing a gun — usually because of prior criminal conviction — obtained one through illegal means. Another 12 percent of convicted criminals said they would make their purchase from a gun shop, as current laws — along with slow, out-of-date databases — already on the books are not enforced. According to Bureau of Justice statistics gathered by the 2nd Amendment Foundation, less than .7 percent of criminals obtain firearms at gun shows.