Ohio Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard, a Columbus Democrat, recently announced that she is introducing legislation that will require mandatory background checks
to be carried out at gun shows.
"To not close this loophole is knowingly reckless and irresponsible to Ohioans and our region," she said during a recent news conference held across the street from Westland Mall, which holds frequent gun shows. "With the challenges we face with gun violence, it is nothing short of negligent to not correct this situation immediately." City Councilwoman Michelle M. Mills and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman publicly declared their support for the bill. Coleman described gun shows as a magnet for gun traffickers, gangsters and terrorists, according to WSYX-TV. He cited a video that was posted on YouTube earlier this month in which Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American al-Qaida spokesman, urged Muslims in the United States to buy weapons from gun shows and use them to carry out random terrorist attacks. "America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," Gadahn said in the video. "You can go down to a gun show ... and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check
, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So, what are you waiting for?" Although federally licensed dealers are required under national law to run a background screening
on anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm, private sellers are not similarly controlled, the Columbus Dispatch reports. They may sell at gun shows, through classified ads or out of their basements without ever having to conduct a background investigation
. However, Ken Hanson, legislative chair of the Buckeye Firearms Association, told the news source that ownership of automatic weapons is tightly regulated by the federal government, and accused Heard and her supporters of fear-mongering. "It is 100 percent demonstratively false that you can go to a gun show and come home with a machine gun," he said in an interview with the news source. Annette Elliott of C & E Gun Shows, which will be running the Westland Mall's next event, told WBNS-TV that less than 1 percent of guns used in crimes were bought at gun shows.