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NY gun show operators to tighten background checks

A women fires a handgun at the

A women fires a handgun at the "Get Some Guns & Ammo" shooting range in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Jan. 15, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

While state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced an agreement Thursday with 80 percent of gun shows across the state to impose new controls, it leaves out one of the largest gun shows on Long Island.

Frank Gennari and Donald Fiore, two of the sponsors of the biannual Hauppauge gun show, said they were not asked to participate. They say they already comply with all the required safeguards for sales -- and Gennari said he is still smarting from a dispute with the attorney general over a statewide sting operation that included their show.

Schneiderman in November 2011 announced that criminal charges had been filed against 10 gun sellers across New York for violating the state's background checks for the sales of firearms at gun shows. One of the individuals was arrested for selling a rifle outside the grounds of the Hauppauge gun show, according to Gennari and Fiore.

While the gun show was investigated, no charges have been brought. "They sent us subpoenas and all kind of things; it cost us $10,000 to defend ourselves when we had nothing to do with anything," Gennari said.

Fiore said: "We're both retired detectives so we didn't do anything wrong; whatever the law was, we abided by the law." Gennari retired after 28 years of service with the Suffolk County Police Department; Fiore served for 35 years.

The attorney general's office said it could not comment on ongoing matters.

Five more gun show operators are reviewing the model procedures, and 23 gun shows -- all located upstate except for one in White Plains -- have already accepted, according to the attorney general.

"Gun violence is everyone's concern, and I'm proud we've worked with gun show operators to create simple procedures to ensure that deadly weapons don't make it into the hands of felons, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill, or anyone else who could not pass background check," Schneiderman said.

One new safeguard Schneiderman announced is a requirement that the operators of gun shows place tags on all firearms brought in by private sellers.

Those tags can then be checked by the show's staffers who are stationed at the exits to ensure that if the firearms have been sold, the mandatory background checks have been done.

The gun shows also must put up "conspicuous signs" detailing the legal requirements for background checks to be performed for all sales -- including ones that take place on the grounds of the show.

Local law enforcement agencies must be informed of the gun shows, the operators must use "reasonable means" to prevent illegal sales from taking place in the parking lots, and the shows must ensure there is a dealer who is authorized to conduct the background search, called National Instant Criminal Background Check System, at cost.

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