Executive action to reduce gun violence not changing Eastman's G - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Executive action to reduce gun violence not changing Eastman's Gun Show operations


Dozens of firearm dealers from all over the state are in Savannah this weekend for the first major gun show since President Barack Obama announced an executive action to reduce gun violence.

Part of that requires all dealers to be licensed and conduct background checks. The Obama Administration says basic background checks are often lacking at events like gun shows.

WTOC caught up with the vendors as they set up Friday night to see exactly how business is handled at the Eastman's Gun Show.

Dealers said they are under the microscope at events like gun shows, and subject to more scrutiny than in their own shops.

"This process is really no different than going to their local sporting goods store," said gun dealer Buddy Webb, in town from Macon for the Eastman's Gun Show at the Savannah Civic Center.

But Webb said many people still think by coming to gun shows, like the Eastman's Gun Show in town this weekend, that certain steps in the process of buying a gun can be bypassed, like background checks.

"If we don't feel good about what we think they're doing, we can stop the sale. We have the authority to stop a sale at any time that we don't feel good about it," Webb said.

Webb believes the vast majority of the vendors at the Eastman Gun Show are federally licensed dealers, and background checks are conducted on sales.

Webb added, "We do a background check. Either we call it in over the telephone, or we have a system that we can actually log into, the FBI's federal background check system, and actually do it online ourselves."

It's that system, though, that Webb said is often lacking in efficiency even outside the gun show venue.

"We constantly have issues with background checks, with trying to get background checks approved. They have three days to give us an answer on a background check, and by law, if they don't give us an answer in three days, we can legally transfer the firearm. And we see that on a regular basis, that we don't get those answers back within three days," said Webb.

The executive action to reduce gun violence does call for an update to the background check system, and hiring more staff to help handle the application load.

"Their system is broke, that they need to fix," said Webb. "We don't need new rules, we just need to fix the problems that we have already."

As far as the security around this show, Webb said Savannah is the only city he tours to that requires each vendor to put an electronic alarm on each individual firearm. Also, no loaded weapons are allowed inside the civic center.

The Eastman's Gun Show is this Saturday, Jan. 30th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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