BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says there's a legal loophole that lets gun show operators off the hook if dealers at their shows don't follow the law and maybe sell guns to criminals or other dangerous people.
Schniederman says his staffers went undercover at gun shows here in Western New York and around the state and found that some dealers were avoiding certain requirements like instant background checks for buyers of weapons.
He says they did work out a cooperative agreement for tighter guidelines with two show operators. One is the Niagara Frontier Collectors of Chautauqua County to make sure dealers are in compliance. That would include posting signs for background checks, tags on guns, and alerting local police about a show. He hopes this will be a model and that other gun show operators will follow.
But Schneiderman feels state law does not really go after other gun show operators who don't make sure vendors are following the rules. Schneiderman says "Vendors who sell a weapon without doing a background check are subject to a misdemeanor. Gun show operators have no liability for a sale of a weapon on their premises at their gun show if a background check is not done."
Schneiderman hopes to work out agreements with other gun show operators but says stiffer state laws covering them may be needed and he may push for such legislation.
On other topics, Schneiderman says he feels the furor over the disclosed $103,000 taxpayer funded settlement to two women who claimed they were sexually harassed by a state lawmaker may end the confidentiality in such cases. The Attorney General says one of his staff attorneys did consult with legal counsel for the Assembly but they did not know all the details of the final settlement. He hopes such cases can be worked out in the future so that taxpayers are aware of the circumstances.
Schneiderman also says a federal task force investigating possible market manipulation affecting gas prices is still up and running. He is a member of the task force and feels it will soon issue findings. He says the government has not found any fraud or manipulation at the distribution or local gas station levels. Schneiderman says the issue may be more effectively handled at the federal level.
Schneiderman also says his office is "actively engaged" in reviewing complaints of customers of the now closed FWS furniture store chain. But he will not discuss what, if any, action his office can take in the matter. Some customers are still upset they did not get their furniture orders after paying up front for them. Others say they never got refunds when they became frustrated and cancelled their orders.