You walk into a large hall after paying a nominal admission fee. Every flat surface is covered with rifles, shotguns, handguns and knives. There are booths selling militaria. There are Russian bayonets from the Cold War. There are Japanese swords. There are Nazi emblems. There are German steel-pot helmets. There is a booth bearing an NRA banner, where visitors may pay for memberships.
You are standing in a gun show.
Occasionally, some intrepid reporter will screw up his courage and go “undercover” at a gun show. He or she will report, breathlessly and wide-eyed, on the goings-on within. The report will be accompanied by a great deal of John-Stossel-like affected incredulity, as the reporter wonders just how or why anyone would need or want the engines of evil being distributed thereby.
The domestic terrorists, racists and other criminals within the gun show – cleverly disguised as middle-aged men, their wives and girlfriends, their children and a few college students – take little notice of such “journalists,” and if they do, they shake their heads and laugh. For an American liberal, there is nothing more terrifying than a gun show … and for a conservative, there is no place he goes that is lied about more often.
In a nauseating and transparent bit of political theater, Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson shucked and jived his way through an absurd little routine in which he lobbed softballs at Attorney General Eric Holder. The purpose of the exchange? To lie about gun shows.
Recall that Holder and the BATF are responsible (no matter what denials Holder offers) for selling 2,000 illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels in an effort to foment support for greater infringement of Americans’ Second Amendment rights. That is the backdrop against which these two held hands and whispered in each other’s ears before the House Judiciary Committee:
Hank Johnson: Now, how many firearms are sold to al-Qaida terrorists, to other convicted felons, to domestic violence perpetrators, to convicted felons, to white supremacists? How many unlicensed gun dealers, or let’s say, how many weapons, how many assault rifles let’s just say in a given year are sold to such individuals by unlicensed gun dealers at these gun shows and how many of those end up walking away to Mexico? Can you give us a number on that?
Eric Holder: I don’t have a number on that.
Johnson: Would it be more than a couple of hundred?
Holder: I’m pretty certain it’d be more than 2,000, but in terms of getting those numbers to you, I can try to do that after the hearing.
The purpose of this pantomime is obvious. Johnson is saying, essentially, “Well golly, Eric, we here on the Democrat side of the aisle know you had just the best of intentions, and really, what are a couple of [thousand] illegal guns, one or two of which have been used to murder American law enforcement officials, when considered against the much, much worse issue that American civilians are still permitted to own their own federally registered, heavily regulated firearms?”
Johnson and his fellow sneering Democrats would have you believe that gun shows are places where state and federal laws don’t apply, where criminals acquire weapons easily and casually. Why, there’s no way this could be worse than Holder and the BATF “losing” a few guns to vicious, known thugs.
Let us be clear on one thing right now: There is no “gun show loophole.” Nothing goes on at gun shows that cannot go on, legally, anywhere else in the state. The same laws apply. The same lengthy list of regulations controls the weapons in question. Much more importantly, the clientele of gun shows in the USA is NOT frothing terrorists and shifty-eyed felons.
A casual stroll through the parking lot at a gun show tells you everything you need to know about its attendees. There are more pickup trucks than average in that lot. There are bumper stickers condemning Hitler and his National Socialist Party, “Terrorist Hunting Permit” window tags, proclamations of NRA affiliation, and countless American flags. Gun show attendees are often super-patriots. For every Gadsden flag and every sign fretting, “I love my country, but I fear my government,” there are countless professions of love for the USA, yellow ribbon support-our-troops magnets and – yes – even a gun rack or two.
The people who attend gun shows are your neighbors. For the most part they are your conservative neighbors, but not all of them vote Republican, Libertarian, or even Independent. Some of them are surprisingly liberal, but they remember what “liberal” used to mean against the backdrop of our political landscape. All of them are united in their desire to protect themselves and their families, legally and responsibly. The average “Occupy” encampment generates more crime and violence in a weekend than the attendees of a gun show will commit over the course of their entire lives.
We’re missing something much more important about the little puppet show put on by Eric Holder and Hank Johnson. In his December, 2011 testimony, Holder admitted to gross negligence. He claims that thousands of guns are sold illegally at gun shows in the United States. How can he know this? If he does know it, how can these sales have been allowed to occur? Why is his office not prosecuting these criminals? Where are the convictions?
Holder is lying. Gun shows are not criminal bazaars – and no, Messrs. Holder and Johnson, gun show sales are NOT worse than a government agency smuggling illegal weapons into Mexico. No, Messrs. Holder and Johnson, your fictional “thousands” of crimes do NOT outnumber the victims of the BATF’s vile gun-control scheme gone wrong.
Abusing his power as he has and does, Eric Holder is a threat to your freedom and to the rule of law in the United States. There is no redress of the wrongs he has wrought; there is no restoring those who have died at his hands.
Holder’s resignation, however, would at least be a start.