The Denver Post reports:
A group of community activists has raised $1,000 to buy guns from owners in order to trim gun violence in Denver. …
The group will pay $50 per gun at an anti-violence and gun-buyback rally scheduled for noon Dec. 6, at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Denver City Park.
The guns will be turned over to the police, said Denver police spokeswoman Sharon Hahn.
“Anybody can bring an illegal gun in at any time. Any time that illegal weapons are taken off the street, we are pleased,” she said. …
The $1,000 is enough for 20 guns.
This is a great way to pay people for junked out, nonfunctional guns worth less than $50.
But Denver police spokeswoman Sharon Hahn muddles the issue with her reference to “illegal guns.” What are these “illegal guns?” Please do tell. Guns can be used in illegal ways, but I’d really like to know which guns Hahn thinks are themselves “illegal” that will be purchased for $50. (Watch out: the disarmament rhetoric is already ramping up.)
But wait a minute… do these activists plan on meeting the requirements of Colorado’s gun-show law (which I opposed)?
Colorado statute 12-26.1-106 states:
(3) “Gun show” means the entire premises provided for an event or function, including but not limited to parking areas for the event or function, that is sponsored to facilitate, in whole or in part, the purchase, sale, offer for sale, or collection of firearms at which:
(a) twenty-five or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange; or
(b) not less than three gun show vendors exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange firearms.
(4) “Gun show promoter” means a person who organizes or operates a gun show.
(5) “Gun show vendor” means any person who exhibits, sells, offers for sale, transfers, or exchanges, any firearm at a gun show, regardless of whether the person arranges with a gun show promoter for a fixed location from which to exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or exchange any firearm.
Clearly this activist group is a gun show under Colorado law.
The statutes continue:
12-26.1-101. Background checks at gun shows – penalty.
(1) Before a gun show vendor transfers or attempts to transfer a firearm at a gun show, he or she shall:
(a) require that a background check, in accordance with section 24-33.5-424, C.R.S., be conducted of the prospective transferee; and
(b) obtain approval of a transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after a background check has been requested by a licensed gun dealer, in accordance with section 24-33.5-424, C.R.S.
(2) A gun show promoter shall arrange for the services of one or more licensed gun dealers on the premises of the gun show to obtain the background checks required by this article.
(3) If any part of a firearm transaction takes place at a gun show, no firearm shall be transferred unless a background check has been obtained by a licensed gun dealer.
(4) Any person violating the provisions of this section commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.
I’ll be interested to see whether the activist group abides by this law — and whether the law will be selectively enforced.
Update: Of course, the activist group could have a police officer attend the event to take possession of the guns, and presumably the officer could easily pass a background check. Or the activist group could have one or two members pass a background check and collect the guns. However, note the language: “A gun show promoter shall arrange for the services of one or more licensed gun dealers on the premises of the gun show to obtain the background checks required by this article.” So the background checks may not be performed prior to the gun show.
If police officers will attend the event in person, will they be on the city’s clock, or will they volunteer or get paid by the activist group? It would be inappropriate for the police to spend tax dollars on such an overtly political cause.
Furthermore, the licensed gun dealer on hand must record the transfer of every single firearm, as provided by law:
12-26.1-102. Records – penalty.
(1) A licensed gun dealer who obtains a background check on a prospective transferee shall record the transfer, as provided in section 12-26-102, C.R.S., and retain the records, as provided in section 12-26-103, C.R.S., in the same manner as when conducting a sale, rental, or exchange at retail.
(2) Any individual who gives false information in connection with the making of such records commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.
The gun show also must follow the posting requirement:
12-26.1-104. Posted notice – penalty.
(1) A gun show promoter shall post prominently a notice, in a form to be prescribed by the executive director of the department of public safety or his or her designee, setting forth the requirement for a background check as provided in this article.
(2) Any person violating the provisions of this section commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.
So, again, I’ll be interested to see whether the activist group follows the law required of it as a gun show.