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NY state details deal with 2 gun show operators

Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Two major gun show operators have agreed to a set of rules that go beyond state law to thwart illegal sales, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.

Niagara Frontier Collectors Inc. of Chautauqua County and NEACA Inc. in Saratoga County have agreed to tag guns brought to shows by private sellers to make it possible to monitor their sales and ensure that required criminal background checks are performed.

Both companies hold shows at venues throughout the state that attract hundreds of sellers and buyers. They worked with state officials to develop procedures that balance the rights of sportsmen and gun collectors with the need to protect the public, Schneiderman said during a news conference in Buffalo.

The show operators will post signs making clear that instant background checks are required for all sales and will make dealers available to perform them. They also will limit access doors to shows and monitor parking lots to deter sales to people trying to skirt background checks.

The agreement comes a year after Schneiderman charged 10 gun sellers with failing to run required background checks before making sales to undercover buyers at six shows around New York state. The buyers walked away with guns even after telling the sellers they had orders of protection against them and couldn't pass a background check, Schneiderman said.

"Our investigation demonstrated how off-the-books sales of guns presents a great risk to public safety," Schneiderman said.

Nine of the sellers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violation of gun show law and were ordered to pay fines of up to $200 and perform 100 hours of community service. The other seller was convicted following a jury trial at Hamburg Town Court in suburban Buffalo last month.

"Gun violence is an epidemic and my office is working with gun show operators to create simple guidelines to ensure that these deadly weapons don't make it into the hands of felons, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill and others that could not pass a background check," Schneiderman said.

He said his office will work with other gun show operators individually to create more oversight of the gun-purchasing process but would like to see New York become the first state in the nation with uniform, statewide procedures.