Tucson City Council Wants Background Checks, But Gun Show Will Probably Go On Elsewhere

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The Tucson City Council voted unanimously yesterday to advance a plan to require background checks on all gun purchases at gun shows at the Tucson Convention Center and other city-owned property.

“This is good policy for Tucson,” Councilman Paul Cunningham told The Range. “I hope other jurisdictions follow suit.”

Under current law, only federally licensed firearm dealers are required to conduct background checks when guns are purchased. People without licenses who want to sell their guns have no access to the background-check database. (For more on how the system works, check out last week’s feature story, “Background Noise.”)

The city attorney is expected to return within a few weeks with a legal language that would require, as a part of any lease for the TCC or other city property, background checks to be conducted on any gun sales.

The evening council meeting was packed with supporters of background checks, including Pam Simon, a former aide to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was among those shot on Jan. 8, and Patricia Maisch, who wrestled an extended magazine away from the shooter that day and prevented him from reloading his gun.

“This is an absolutely wonderful first step,” Simon said. “Overwhelmingly, Americans believe the gun-show loophole should be closed.”

After the meeting, Roadrunner Gun Show manager Lori McMann said she’d move two or three gun shows she does each year at the TCC to the privately owned Tucson Expo Center. She already does a few shows there each year.