Although media coverage would have people believe that everyone in Florida has decidedly turned against guns in the wake of a school shooting, that isn’t really the case. Rather, gun enthusiasts showed up in droves at a gun show in Tampa, Fla., just 10 days after the tragedy.
The Florida Gun Show, held at the state fairgrounds Feb. 24-25, drew a record 7,000 people on Saturday, and a bigger crowd was expected to attend Sunday, gun show organizers said.
As for hosting a gun show so soon after a public shooting, it’s not that gun show promoters are not sensitive to a community’s pain. Indeed, gun show manager George Fernandez said his group canceled a show that was scheduled to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this month, out of respect for the Parkland mourners. Still, with calls for gun control being bandied about, gun owners and people who want guns for defensive purposes often turn out for gun shows as a public sign of the importance of the Second Amendment, Fernandez told a Florida news reporter.
The shows serve a purpose because they offer vendors a chance to sell related products, too. For example, at the Tampa event, one woman bought bullet-resistant backpack plates for her eight grandchildren.
And while the anti-gunners push the myth that gun shows allow people the opportunity to buy guns without going through requisite background checks, that’s a hyperbolic statement. Fernandez said 95 percent of the gun sales at his shows go through licensed vendors, who file National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) paperwork before selling a gun.