October 12, 2013

Giffords to attend gun show under NY sales model

It will be latest event by Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly in their national campaign for expanded background checks for gun sales.

By Michael Gormley
The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. – Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, is set to tour a New York gun show, the first such visit since she was shot.

Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, a former combat pilot and astronaut, are scheduled to be with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair on Sunday to highlight a voluntary agreement to monitor gun show sales and stricter state gun control law.

It will be latest event by Giffords and Kelly in their national campaign for expanded background checks for gun sales.

A state law enacted earlier this year with a push by Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded a ban on military-style weapons, requires mental health professionals to report threats, limits magazines to seven bullets, taxes bullets and creates a registry to keep guns out of the wrong hands. It was approved a month after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

Separately, Schneiderman worked closely with all 35 gun show operators in New York to adopt stringent new rules to track sales.

Kelly said the system could be a national model.

“At the federal level we still have no requirement for background checks at gun shows, but states like New York are fixing the loophole,” he said. “The state’s model helps keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them – like criminals and the dangerously mentally ill – without infringing on our Second Amendment rights.”

Under the agreements worked out by Schneiderman, all firearms are tagged at the entrances to gun shows. Operators must provide computer stations for sellers to do national background checks. Guns are checked as they are taken away through a limited number of exits to make sure background checks were performed. No buyers can leave a show without documentation of a proper sale.

Operators must also notify local police so they can patrol near shows watching for illegal sales. Schneiderman also has a staff member at each gun show to work with operators to monitor compliance with the new gun control law.

Schneiderman’s effort began after a 2011 sting operation found numerous violations at gun shows. Investigators found frequent sales without background checks, including no attempts to prevent private sales outside the show. There also were sales to undercover investigators who said they had court orders of protection against them, which should prevent them from passing a background check.

Giffords was shot in the head in her Arizona district and her right arm remains paralyzed. She and Kelly are expected to tour the show beginning around noon in Saratoga Springs, near Albany.

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