DALY CITY — California state law requires background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows, and local owners think the law should be adopted nationwide.
The national gun debate is heating up again as Congress considers legislation that would close loopholes on background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows. While some Second Amendment advocates are up in arms, several owners attending the Crossroads Gun Show at the Cow Palace over the weekend said California’s laws make sense.
“If anything, we should go deeper with background checks,” said Alex Kenmille of Dublin, who owns an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. “We should find out who a person really is before they can buy a gun.”
California is one of two states, along with Rhode Island, that requires universal background checks, including purchases from licensed dealers, gun shows and even private sales between neighbors. After a gun is purchased legally in California, a buyer must wait 10 days before he or she can pick up the firearm from a transfer dealer.
Steve Wallace said he didn’t feel inconvenienced by the wait when he purchased a handgun for target shooting from a licensed store.
“So you wait 10 days; it’s no big deal,” he said. “You just plan ahead.”
He said the wait ensures that guns aren’t being purchased impulsively.
“That way you’re not going in there with an attitude and then going home and doing something stupid,” he said. “It’s a cool-off period.”
But Joe Perea of Ripon said he doesn’t believe background checks reduce gun violence.
“A criminal isn’t going to go through a background check to get anything anyway,” he said.
While he supports California’s gun laws, Perea said he opposes federal legislation for background checks.
“It will bog down our federal system and we will end up paying more money in taxes,” he said.
His father, Jose, disagreed, saying gun issues transcend state borders.
“Somebody in Utah can buy a gun and bring it into California without a background check,” Jose Perea said. “They don’t ask you if you’re a crook, they don’t check to see if you’re a nut.”
Jay Parafina, who lives in Visatacion Valley, was attending his first gun show and said it’s comforting to know that the Cow Palace event requires background checks.
“If some idiot could just roll in here and buy a gun, that would be a problem,” he said.
After broad gun-control legislation stalled in Congress, Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., reached a compromise last week, introducing an amendment that if passed will require background checks on all firearm purchases at gun shows nationwide. A vote on the amendment is expected early this week.