Licensed Vs. Private Gun Show Vendor Laws

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HARLINGEN – The Venezuelan fugitive arrested Wednesday in McAllen obtained a gun from a Rio Grande Valley gun show, according to police.

The Homeland Security Investigations agents who searched Tirso Antonio Melean-Castellano's home accuse him of being in the country illegally, while in possession of a 9mm Beretta Pistol and a .40 Glock 22.

The act of owning a firearm when in the country illegally is prohibited, said Brian Guerra, a licensed gun dealer and owner of Armas de Guerra in Harlingen.

Guerra points to 18 U.S.C. § 922, which restricts some individuals from owning a firearm.

To the claim that Melean-Castellano obtained the guns from a gun show, Guerra explains there are two kinds of vendors at those events, licensed dealers and private sellers.

"A licensed vendor is required to do the federal background checks on any individual that they are selling a gun to at a gun show," said Guerra.

A licensed vendor has to fill out the same form that has to be filled when buying a gun at a gun store. The second kind of seller at a gun show is a private seller.

"A private individual can go to a gun show, rent a booth, as per the federal law," said Guerra. "Then they can sell their private property at a gun show.”

But Guerra says any private seller who has any knowledge that someone is prohibited from purchasing a firearm is prohibited from selling a gun.

RELATED STORY: ICE Agents Detain Venezuelan Fugitive in McAllen


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