Four arrested on weapons charges at gun show

DAYTON — Two years after a local gun show was a target of a New York City investigation highlighting a loophole in federal firearms laws, local authorities arrested four men Saturday on a variety of weapons violations.

The operation targeted “private” or “occasional” sellers and buyers at Bill Goodman’s Gun & Knife Show at the Hara Arena on Saturday. Under federal laws, licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks on those purchasing weapons. Private sellers, however, are not covered by the requirement.

“We organized the operation as part of the department’s initiative to get the guns off the streets,” said Dayton Lt. Brian Johns, head of the narcotics and vice unit.

One undercover detective saw two men approach a dealer and ask if he was a private seller. During the conversation, one of the men picked up a criminal background form “and quickly put the form back on the table,” according to the police report.

“He probably stopped at Question No. 2: ‘Have you been convicted of a felony,’” Johns said.

The two men eventually found a private seller. Unbeknowst to them, an undercover detective was standing right behind them monitoring the sale of .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

The buyer then carried the pistol in a plastic case as he shopped for ammo. Buying 100 rounds, the buyer and his friend left the show, only to be stopped by Trotwood police on Shiloh Springs Road.

The buyer, 29-year-old Kyle Ditty, eventually was arrested in connection with having a weapon while under a disability. Ditty is barred from owning a weapon because of two convictions on possession of crack cocaine. Ditty’s friend was not arrested.

“The gun show loophole is a deadly serious problem — and this undercover operation exposes just how pervasive and serious it is,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said following the 2009 investigation funded by the city.

In a similar manner, 19-year-old Shayvion Furlow, was arrested for weapons under disability. It was his second such arrest in less than 16 months. He was convicted in 2010 for weapons under disability, carrying a concealed weapon and improper handling of a firearm. According to the indictment, Furlow was charged with armed robbery as a juvenile and barred from owning or handling a firearm. He was placed on five years probation in 2010 that was ended by the court this past May.

Two other men also were jailed in connections with weapons violations.

The Tennessee-based gun show promoter requires all licensed dealers to post a sign saying background checks are mandatory. That does not, however, affect the private sales.

“There are lots of sales in the parking lot and in the aisles,” Lt. Johns said. “The (licensed) dealers, however, are good about background checks.”

The hot debate over the “gun show loophole” has continued for more than a decade. Gun rights groups, such as the NRA, argues requiring “occasional sellers” — those who might sell a firearm every once and awhile — to conduct background checks is nonsensical. Such regulation would require a fellow who sells his neighbor a deer rifle or a widow who sells her late husband’s gun collection to do a criminal background check. Gun rights groups quote various studies that show criminals seldom frequent gun shows to obtain weapons. In addition, many believe that the government is interfering with private transactions and exceeding its authority.

Gun control groups counter with examples of criminals who have purchased weapons at gun shows and used them to commit further crimes. These groups also quote studies indicating gun shows as the primary source of illegally trafficked firearms. They believe the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause gives the government the right to regulate firearms’ sales, even if they do not involve crossing state lines.

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