AUSTIN (KXAN) - A bright yellow Texas Gun Showssign hangs outside the entrance of the Crockett Center in the 10600block of North Lamar where Austin police say at least eight felonsand illegal immigrants have walked out with weapons in hand.
"Some people would go to certain vendors, attempt to purchase afirearm, and if they were asked to fill out paperwork or do abackground check they would bypass them and go to another vendoruntil they found one that didn't require a background check," saidT.J. Vineyard, an investigator with the organized crime division atthe Austin Police Department.
The findings were the result of a year's worth of work betweenpolice, Federal Immigration, Customs, and Enforcement (ICE) and theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) totarget illegal gun trafficking.
Last Thursday before the Jan. 16 gun show local police andfederal agents met with HEB Grocery who own the building, propertymanagers and gun show promoter Darwin Boedeker to recommend thefollowing ground rules:
1. Only licensed gun dealers will be allowed to sell firearms.
2. There must be on-site security to prevent parking lot gunsales
3. There must be a defined process for non-licensed dealersto sell guns. The group agreed on a federal firearms licensee toassist with the transactions.
While Boodeker agreed to abide by the recommendations lastweekend, he plans on taking future shows elsewhere.
"I don't want a felon to own a gun. I don't want an illegalalien to own a gun, but they shouldn't infringe on the rest of ourrights to try to get that accomplished," said Boedeker.
Police defended their actions, and said it is not their intentto create new rules regarding the private sale of guns.
"We're trying to find a way that we can recommend to theproperty owner that they can manage a show so that there can besome level of insurance of what's going on there is legal," saidVineyard.
Boedeker said law enforcement's latest move is a violation ofone's constitutional rights.
Darwin says, "It's APD and the ATF that don't want the gun showsin Austin and if they succeed in Austin, then they'll spread toother cities."
The Texas State RifleAssociation's website questions whether gun shows are underattack and are looking into the matter further.
Bodeker said Texas Gun Shows have been holding shows at theCrockett Center since November 2009. Police said Saxet GunShows leased the building prior.
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