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Background-check safeguards for big LI gun show

Frank E. Harris from Kahr Arms displays semi-automatic

Frank E. Harris from Kahr Arms displays semi-automatic handguns during a pre-season tent show outside Coliseum Gun Traders Ltd. in Uniondale. Credit: Newsday/Sally Morrow

ALBANY -- One of Long Island's biggest gun show operators, B&C Sporting Llc, agreed Friday to adopt new safeguards to ensure that purchasers cannot evade background checks before sales, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

The procedures require tagging of all guns sold at shows to ensure that sellers conduct a National Instant Criminal Background Check, and posting of numerous conspicuous signs about mandatory checks. Doors and access points will be limited to make sure that buyers and sellers exit shows through areas where background checks are completed.

The agreement with B&C and two other gun show operators announced Friday brings to 26 the number of agreements that Schneiderman has negotiated since last year. The operators conduct more than 80 percent of the shows in New York, Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman stressed that he has opted to work with the gun show industry. The alternative could have been to pursue civil fines to increase compliance.

"The cooperation we have seen shows that public safety does not need to be divisive or a partisan issue," said Schneiderman, a Democrat. "Gun show operators have voluntarily agreed to adopt simple procedures that increase the safety of New Yorkers without infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of gun owners."

B&C, which conducts biannual gun shows in Hauppauge, referred questions to its attorney, who was unavailable for comment Friday.

There are indications that gun sales have increased since New York became the first state to enact tougher gun laws after the Newtown, Conn., school mass shooting.

Some 111,014 background checks were conducted in New York during the first three months of 2013, according to the FBI's website. That is nearly one-third of the total -- 338,619 -- checks that were done in the state for all of 2012.

The impetus for Schneiderman's new gun show safeguards was an undercover investigation he launched last year.

On Nov. 30, he announced that criminal charges had been filed against 10 people who sold firearms at gun shows but violated the background-check requirement. Nine pleaded guilty, while one was convicted.

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