Gun Shows Across the Nation Draw Record Crowds, Even After Toomey-Manchin Bill Fails

Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr. | April 21, 2013 | 3:44pm EDT
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Gun shows across the nation have experienced record turnout, even as the federal gun control push has hit a major roadblock.

April gun shows - both before and after the Senate killed the Toomey-Manchin bill - have seen record crowds, as many fear the debate over the Second Amendment is not yet over.

New York reports that thousands of gun owners attended the annual show at the New York State Fairgrounds:

"Gun owners and collectors by the thousands came to the New York State Fairgrounds today to scout for affordable ammunition and to increase their weapon collections as the debate about stricter weapons laws continues across the country."

According to reports, many enthusiasts arrived at 9:00am when the doors opened but waited in line nearly two hours just to get through the doors.

"Hundreds more waited in chilly winds and, it being April in Central New York, sleet and random flurries."

One gun owner, Bob Barr of Baldwinsville, said he's been to a dozen shows at the fairgrounds but has never seen lines this long.

"Everybody is scared," he said.  "They think more is going to happen."

According to Sandy Ackerman, who organized the event, the gun show sold out of its available spaces for vendors.

Another gun owner, Mark Blakely of Amsterdam, NY, voiced concerns over the price of ammunition:

"The big thing is ammo," he said.  "We're being priced out of our hobby."

CNYCentral says that the show began fifty-years ago as a small collectors club, but has since grown into something much larger.


ABC affiliate, WEARTV, reports that the Gun and Knife Show at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds has seen "some of their largest crowds ever."

Victor Ben, the man who organized the gun show, commented on the crowd saying, "Due to all this uncertainty, everyone's out to buy what they can."

South Dakota

The gun show at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota drew record crowds, according to the Rapid City Journal:

"The show opened at 9 a.m. with hundreds of people waiting to get inside, and by 11 a.m. at least 1,700 people had walked through the doors, according to gun show manager Sonny Pesicka."

One attendee, Lee Madison said of the crowd:

"I've been coming for several years, and I've never seen it this packed.  It's bad when you're only 10 minutes late and the line is all the way to the other doors and three or four people deep."

Madison said that the reason for the long lines is the talk of more gun control in Washington, D.C.

"This gun ban has really got everyone fired up. You can hear it all through these aisles," Madison said.

"There is just an underlying fear that Obama and the administration are going to come up with some legislation that is really going to hurt gun owners."

Many gun owners voiced similar concerns heard throughout the country:  Ammunition is hard to come by and very expensive.

"The .22 shells are the hardest find," said Bill Allen of Rapid City.  "People that had them for $20 a box are now putting $60 on them. With these, you're pretty much at whoever has them's mercy."


According to WABI, a recent show in Bangor, Maine drew a large crowd with the hopes of finding ammunition"

"The biggest attraction this year is ammunition, over 20 sellers came fully stocked with bullets. 

"With recent events and legislation surrounding second amendment rights, one vendor says attendance has gone up about 30%."


The Crossroads of the West gun show in California was packed with over 10,000 attendees according to a report by ABC affiliate, KGO-TV:

"I spoke with the organizer of the Crossroads of the West gun shows. He tells me that more than 10,000 people have attended the two-day event and that they will be back in June, where they expect the crowd to be even larger. That's because of proposed legislation working its way through that they believe targets gun owners."

As the "Right Views" previously reported, since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, there have been approximately 32 background checks for gun purchases completed by the FBI every minute.

See more "Right Views, Right Now."

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