In his June 12 letter, Jim Kessler repeated a common misunderstanding of American gun law: that buying a gun at a gun store involves a background check, but buying one at a gun show doesn’t. The reality is that any individual holding a federal firearms license (the permit needed to sell firearms as a business) must perform background checks on anyone he or she sells guns to, regardless of whether the sale occurs in a store, at a gun show or anywhere else. Such sellers account for the majority at gun shows.

Gun sales that require no background check are those in which the seller does not hold a federal firearms license. For instance, I don’t have a license, and if I didn’t want my deer rifle anymore and decided to sell it to a friend, the sale would not require a background check, whether it occurred at a gun show or in my living room. 

It’s true that ordinary gun owners sometimes go to gun shows to sell guns they don’t want anymore, but gun shows are certainly not the only place where such sales occur. The vast majority of the guns sold at gun shows cannot be bought without a background check.

Chris Rories, Burke