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Gun shows take on tighter regulations after Obama’s executive action

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Ron Brown has been collecting Colt .45s since he was in military school.

But, now, he's selling what he can and largely giving up his longtime hobby.

"With the new Obama directives, I don't want to be classified a dealer," he said Saturday, standing in front of a table at the OKC Gun Show at the state fairgrounds, holding what remains of his collection. "The water has really been muddied, and I learned at a young age, 'Don't wade in muddy waters.' So, the best thing I know to do is sell off my collection, and there goes my hobby. That's the way it is, but better safe than sorry."

Under new executive actions, unveiled by the president Tuesday, anyone who "engages in the business of selling firearms" must get a license to do so, enabling them to perform background checks on gun buyers.

The action is the president's attempt to close what is known as the "gun show loophole," which largely allowed non-licensed vendors to sell at gun shows or on the internet.

"I have no problems with background checks," Brown said. "I don't think felons should have weapons. I don't think that's something that should be done, so I have no problem with what he says at all. It's just the fact that he's made it so unclear who's a dealer and who isn't."

READ: "Gun Control in America: How we got here"

Brown said he always makes sure the people buying from him have an Oklahoma driver's license and are at least 21 years of age or older.

If he's still unconvinced, he runs his own background check of sorts by typing the customer's name into a public court database.

"This is not where the bad guys come to get guns," he said. "Not to say they don't get them here every now and then. They buy them off the street as stolen guns, or they break into your house and steal your guns."

Unlike Brown, most of the vendors at Claude Hall's OKC Gun Shows are already licensed dealers who will be unaffected by the president's executive actions.

"These are law-abiding citizens and, as they change the laws, we obey," Hall said. "We follow the rules. But, it's their job to give us an avenue to do that."

Hall said he has been busy in preparation for the weekend show, making sure his vendors know what's allowed and what isn't.

While Hall said he would never want to sell to criminals, he's disappointed with the way the president moved the stricter rules along.

"I don't like executive actions," he said. "If you can't get it passed by congress into a law, he's taking executive actions and making regulations on his own and he's bypassing congress."

President Obama's executive actions also propose:

  • More alcohol, tobacco and firearms agents to enforce laws already on the books
  • Making background checks more efficient
  • $500 million for mental health
  • Conducting or sponsoring smart gun research
  • Encouraging states to provide more information for background checks