Gun show draws crowds and mixed emotions
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- AA favorite event for local gun collectors, hunters and enthusiasts is triggering controversy, as a gun show in South Florida happens in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Guns were everywhere Saturday at the Fort Lauderdale Gun Show. "I've never seen it like this before," said a man. "I've been here about 15 years, and I've never seen it this long."
Strapped to seller's backs and attached to signs, sellers posted the power the weapon has to offer. Assault weapons seemed to be amongst the hottest items. "The people I talk to are usually gun owners," said Stan Coleman, "so they're gonna be on the side of, 'with the restrictions, we need to kind of stock up.' Less on the, 'I can't believe that was the gun you used.'"
Stan Coleman is selling his AR-15 Bushmaster, the exact semi-automatic gun Adam Lanza used to murder 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary in December. "Gun enthusiasts are kind of in hysteria," said Coleman. "It's really silly. I sold my AR for a reasonable price. Here it would've been $1,000 more. I'm not gonna gouge someone's eyes out because of hysteria."
Now, that tragedy is raising the prices of guns at gun sales. "There's a lot of energy in there," said Coleman, "and prices are way high. They're almost double what they would've been six months ago."
It's gun shows like this, put on by Sun Coast, that are attracting gun rights activists by the thousands and terrifying their opponents. "Gun shows originally, 20 years ago, were designed for sporting enthusiasts and hunters," said Earl Rynerson. "What this gun show has morphed into is a show for extremists and militia members and anybody wanting to build an automatic weapons arsenal, and that's just wrong."
By Florida law, anyone who already has a concealed weapons permit can purchase a gun and walk out with it. Licensed gun dealers have to follow a mandatory five-day waiting period for buyers without a permit. But it's private sellers like these, set up outside and inside that don't have to follow those laws. "None of these individuals who are here to sell guns are going to do a background check on you," said Rynerson. "They're not going to ask if you have a permit. These are transactions that are coming from anybody to anybody."
"I do a bill of sale," said Coleman. "I want to see CCP, I want to see their drivers license to see if they're a Florida resident. I write it down and give them a copy so we have a transaction."
Still, anyone can buy them privately and anyone is. "We're here to get her her first gun," said the mother of a toddler.
The Fort Lauderdale Gun Show opened up again on Sunday.
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