Private sales of firearms at gun show not regulated with federal background checks
Lines winded out to the parking lot at the Eastman Gun Show in Macon on Saturday. Many gun enthusiasts like Tim Phelps are not only at the show to buy guns and ammunition but to sell their firearms.
"I have the right to sell this rifle, this shotgun to anybody that I want to," Phelps said.
Phelps is one of hundreds of private gun owners who brought firearms to the show. Under current laws in the United States, background checks are not required for sales between private sellers and buyers. While the rules or lack thereof can be a cause for concern to some people, sellers like Phelps have their own stipulations.
"I want to see a Georgia license, driver’s license and a concealed carry permit and that tells me that an individual has already gone through the background process and they're clear to own a firearm,” he said.
Tighter background checks for buyers may soon be coming as U.S. leader’s debate gun regulations in Washington. However many people at the gun show say they do not agree.
"It's just more control over a citizen of what he does, “private gun seller Tony Green said. “A legal citizen."
Vendors like Susan Watson who works at Bob’s Guns has to jump through some hoops before selling at the booth. Vendors have to hold a federal firearms license and perform background checks on people who don't own concealed weapons permits. She said in the past she didn't care about private sales but now she's concerned that a gun might fall into the wrong hands.
"People are crazy out there,” she said. “(In the past) I would've felt like, man that's their business you know. Do what you do and I feel a little different now."
As for Phelps who sold his gun, he's hopeful he'll be able to keep attending gun shows, no matter what changes are made.
"It's a part of our heritage it's a part of our, our traditions,” Phelps said. “This is a great opportunity to come and see some firearms and things that you don't normally get to see."
State lawmakers say they won't allow any new gun restrictions to be adopted in Georgia. Meanwhile, Governor Nathan Deal has not endorsed proposals to lift restrictions on where people can carry their weapons.