Will gun law changes affect local gun shows?

Posted at 8:53 AM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 09:23:58-05

CINCINNATI — Some Tri-State residents are apprehensive to hear President Barack Obama's changes to gun regulations because they fear it could harm the gun sale and trade business; others welcome the change, saying the existing "loopholes" need to be plugged.

One of the largest expected changes under the executive order will pertain to background checks at gun shows and flea markets. That could mean big changes to the annual Sharonville Gun Show which takes place Jan. 23 and 24 at the Sharonville Convention Center.

Watch the video above from WCPO - 9 On Your Side's Kristen Swilley for more on the convention.

On the other hand, a Middletown police official told The Journal-News of Butler County that he would like to see a “loophole” in the gun control law stopped since President Obama wants to tighten gun regulations.

Maj. Mark Hoffman, from the Middletown Division of Police, said gun stores and major sporting good retailers comply with the federal regulations, but he’s doesn’t believe background checks are performed before all gun sales at gun shows and flea markets. There are two flea markets in Monroe, and they periodically have a gun and knife show.

“Something needs to be done,” Hoffman told The Journal-News. “Everyone needs to check.”

Mandatory background checks occur with all buyers at federally registered gun shops. Customers fill out a form from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI completes the background check. Convicted felons, those judged by a court as mentally unstable or convicted of domestic violence, are restricted from buying firearms.

Two Butler County gun shop operators, who didn’t want to be identified, said gun sales have been brisk, mainly due to the Christmas holiday. Spikes in firearm sales nationally have previously followed discussion of tougher firearms control, usually in the wake of a mass shooting incident. But, the dealers said, interest remains high, especially following the terrorist attack in San Bernadino, Calif.

Obama is mounting a final-year push to make gun control part of his legacy despite Republican opposition and is expected to announce unilateral action this week.

Gun control has been an issue Obama has pitched numerous times, but each appeal was shot down. Congress has remained a roadblock even in the face of widespread public support for his past calls for universal background checks or bolstered mental health support, with near uniform opposition from Republicans and a split on the issue among Democrats.

An anonymous source who is said to be close to the discussion quoted by the Associated Press added that the changes would be aimed at unregistered sellers who skirt background check laws by selling at gun shows, online or informal settings.

The restrictions could also include improving reporting of lost and stolen weapons and beefing up inspections of licensed dealers.

Terri McGee Norvell, of Madison Twp., said if Obama changes the regulations, he would go “down a scary path.” She believes gun laws should be determined locally.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said he was “totally against” Obama enacting executive orders.

“I’m sick and tired of this stuff,” Jones said. “We don’t have a president now. We have a king. It’s like the congress and senate don’t exist.”

He said Obama doesn’t make citizens feel “warm and fuzzy” and the public is scared, especially after all the terrorist attacks. He said gun sales are “off the chart,” and he’s encouraging residents to arm themselves, take the CCW training and have a weapon in their home.

“You can’t depend on the government to protect you,” he said.

Meanwhile, a steady number of conceal carry permits are being granted locally, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. In the third quarter of 2015, there were 848 permits issued in Montgomery County, 474 in Butler, 300 in Greene, 146 in Darke, 127 in Clark, 70 in Champaign, 129 in Miami and 73 in Preble.

That compares to the second quarter of 2015 when 889 were granted in Montgomery County, 542 in Butler, 303 in Greene, 168 in Darke, 139 in Clark, 72 in Champaign, 142 in Miami, and 80 in Preble.

Kevin Martin, owner of Dad’s Gun Shop in Waynesville, said it was “business as usual.” If buyers are suddenly pulling the trigger on purchasing a firearm, “we haven’t seen it,” he said.

Martin wouldn’t speculate on what could happen later this week with an announcement from the White House.

The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO - 9 On Your Side.