Greensboro, NC -- Fair or not, gun shows have become part of America's debate over firearm control.
And with a gun show set for this weekend at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, WFMY News 2 asked a local law enforcement officer to weigh in on whether they're safe and whether what happens at them is on the up-and-up.
"I think the emotion runs high on [the issue]," Guilford County Sheriff's Department Capt. Robert Elliott said. "But if you go to a gun show and look around, frankly [there are] more law-abiding people than you would ever imagine from the debate."
Capt. Elliott believes gun shows have been beat up in the debate about firearms. He says it's just as tough to get a weapon at a gun show as it is at a gun store.
If selling firearms is your business, Elliott says you must have a federal firearm license to sell at a gun show. And if the buyer is getting a handgun from you, they must go through an instant background check, fill out some federal paperwork and have either a purchase permit from their local sheriff or a North Carolina concealed carry permit.
Elliott says that's pretty much how it works at a store, too.
Individuals can sell their own guns on a person-to-person basis at gun shows without having that federal license. Some people refer to that as the "gun show loophole." But if an individual is selling a handgun, North Carolina law requires the person you're selling to, give you their purchase permit or show you their concealed carry permit, Elliott says.
As for rifles, shotguns and so-called assault weapons, Elliott says there's no permit required no matter where you buy them. Some people call that a loophole, too. But Capt. Elliott says he thinks changes to that should be done at the state -- and not the federal -- level.
The Greensboro Coliseum says extensive safety measures will be in place at this weekend's gun show. Loaded guns aren't allowed in the show, safety straps that prevent firing must be attached to each one and any weapon someone takes in to the show must be inspected before they're allowed in. Greensboro police officers and coliseum security will also be on hand.
WFMY News 2