CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Is it time to tighten up laws around gun shows? Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says she’s working on a legislative proposal after police stopped a Cambridge man accused of stocking up on ammunition at a Wilmington gun show without a Massachusetts gun license.
“Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi. He did mention Barrack Obama,” were some of the people the man’s roommate said she heard Brian Schwarztrauber talking about. “I heard a three-hour conversation, detailing and finalizing just how he was going to kill these people.”
The case has Ryan pushing for stricter gun laws. “At these gun shows, vendors are not required to perform a background check that is required if someone buys a gun elsewhere in Massachusetts.”
Under federal law, some of those vendors are considered private sellers, and unlike the licensed dealers at gun shops, private sellers are not required to do background checks.
Gun law advocates say it’s the same so-called loophole that applies to online sites like Armslist, where private gun-owners can sell their wares without doing background checks. A spokesperson for Ryan says she’ll be “looking across the regulations and statutes to figure out where the gaps are. This includes looking at online sales to determine how best to address those gaps.”
WBZ’s I-Team sat down with Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon as he checked up on sellers. He never got as far as a sale without a background check, but the potential concerned him. “It’s so much better if they actually process the sale through a dealer, so the background checks are done; the registration, the paperwork’s done,” said Solomon.
Boston Police officer Kurt Stokinger is suing Armslist for allegedly allowing the sale of a gun that ended up in the hands of a felon accused of using it to shoot the officer in the leg.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross says gun sales should be monitored closely. “There should be some accountability in the reporting process of who’s making the purchases and where the firearms are going. It’s not like we’re trying to be Big Brother or George Orwell or anything, but we want accountability,” he said.
Cambridge Police say Brian Schwarztrauber never even applied for a firearms license with their department. The I-Team obtained records showing how many people did apply for gun licenses in Massachusetts over the last year, and how many were granted. If you want to check your town, we’ve got the breakdown right here.