Every weekend, in almost every state in America, gun shows attract thousands of hunters, collectors, and gun enthusiasts, but they're not the only ones. Criminals are attracted to gun shows because of the loophole in federal law that allows them to avoid background checks. Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to run background checks, but private unlicensed sellers who call themselves collectors don't have to run these checks. This gap in the law allows criminals to buy guns at gun shows without fear of detection. That's the gun show loophole, and it's one of the primary ways that illegal guns end up on our streets. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, 30% of illegally trafficked guns are connected gun shows. To uncover this dangerous situation, New York City launched an investigation of illegal sales at gun shows. A team of experienced investigators using hidden cameras bought guns at seven gun shows in three states.
You're not one of those licensed guys, are you?
No. Cash and carry. Because we're not a dealer. This is a private party sales.
While the law allows collectors and occasional sellers to sell guns without background checks, the investigation found that these private sellers are actually doing a very lucrative business, in some cases, selling hundreds of guns.
You're not one of those licensed guys, right?
No, we keep a nice selection. We have nice automatics. We got modern, plastic guns. Glocks. We got the Springfields.
You sell a lot of these? Do you?
Do you sell many of them? SKs?
I sold 348.
348 since this time last year.
Even though so-called private sellers can sell guns without background checks ,the law is clear. If a private seller has reason to believe the buyer can't pass a background check, it is illegal to go through with the sale.
I don't need your address.
So, no background check?
Nothing. Just show me that you're from Ohio.
Well, that's good about your background check because I probably couldn't pass the one.
I don't care.
All's I got to do is demand you show me your license.
You don't care about the background checks, isn't that right?
Nope, nope. Because I wouldn't pass either, bud.
Is that right?
Unlike the seller you just saw, some private sellers abide by this law and will stop the sale.
You do background checks?
That's good because I probably couldn't pass one.
Once you say that, then I'm kind of obligated not to. If you're basically telling me that you wouldn't pass a background check, then I wouldn't be allowed to.
Unfortunately, most of the private sellers approached by our investigators did not stop the sale. Nineteen out of thirty private sellers sold guns to investigators even when they said they probably couldn't pass a background check. The results confirm the worst. Criminals can easily avoid background checks and buy guns at gun shows. To stop this criminal activity and to make it harder for violent felons to obtain guns, the answer is simple: anyone who buys a gun at a gun show should go through a background check. In America, felons and other dangerous people aren't allowed to buy guns. The only way to enforce this law is to close the gun show loophole. To learn more about New York City's undercover operations at gun shows, please visit www.nyc.gov/gunshow.There may be small errors in this transcript.