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Thousands turn out for Gwinnett Fairgrounds gun show

Staff Photo: John Bohn Daniel LeBlanc, left, of McDonough discusses the features of an AR-15 carbine to George Brown of Tucker during a gun and knife show held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The show attracted a very high number of attendees.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Daniel LeBlanc, left, of McDonough discusses the features of an AR-15 carbine to George Brown of Tucker during a gun and knife show held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The show attracted a very high number of attendees.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Dan Senig, right, of Canton, works a booth at a gun and knife show held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The show attracted a very high number of attendees.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Virgil Purser, center left, and his brother Phil Purser, center, both of Douglasville, attend a gun and knife show held at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on Saturday. The show attracted a very high number of attendees. The Pursers were interested in both buying and selling firearms during the show.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Outside a gun and knife show at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds on Saturday, a line of customers stretched hundreds of people deep into the parking lot. Inside, gun enthusiasts bumped shoulder-to-shoulder browsing the 300 tables.

While an event organizer admitted the crowd was "above average," he said crowds for winter shows are typically busier as people look for weekend entertainment. But at least one vendor and several customers estimated the crowd to be several thousand people by early afternoon.

For $10 per adult and $3 for children, RK Gun Shows and Gun Shows of the South Inc., allowed gun buyers and sellers to browse antique and modern firearms of all types, from rifles, to shotguns and handguns, event manager Bill Abner said.

"In the wintertime we always have a larger crowd, but I guess with everything going on in the media, it has everybody in an uproar," said Abner at the show, which continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. "We really don't know what's going to happen. Everybody's trying to buy and see what's going to happen."

Vendor George Mazzant of On The Square Guns in McDonough said the flow of customers was a little better than average, and most customers were first-time gun buyers. Mazzant said he's the son of the company owner, and his company is the largest on the gun show circuit in Georgia and, with two rows, accounted for about 20 percent of this weekend's show.

"We haven't sold the first (assault rifle) yet and we have 50 on the table," Mazzant said. "Prices are up on them, but we have them, but they're not selling. What's selling is handguns, shotguns and ammo. People want self-defense. Every day they have on TV this person shot that person. If they put every car wreck on TV that there was a death, you would watch nothing but people wrecking in cars. Now they're putting every shooting there is on TV, so people are getting more afraid."

Mazzant said his customers ranged from all legal ages to all walks of life, from a gas station employee to a company executive.

"It's not that they're stockpiling, they just want decent self-defense," he said. "And some guys can afford to spend more than others."

Mazzant and Abner said each vendor is required to have a federal firearms license, and require each buying customer to fill out paperwork and pass a background check prior to the purchase. The "gun show loophole" comes in, Mazzant said, when a customer is denied purchase by the FBI, a customer could turn around and buy a gun from another customer, without paperwork, which happened at least once on Saturday, he said.

"In our state, they need to do background checks on everybody, because criminals know you can go to a gun show and get a gun, if you've got cash," he said. "People should be allowed to sell their guns, but they must be a licensed FFL dealer and do the paperwork."

Mazzant said the combination of the media, politicians and supply and demand has led to a spike in gun sales recently. Mazzant said sales went up the same day that President Barack Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a gun control task force.

"It was like they dropped the bus off at the front door with customers," Mazzant said. "Thank you Mr. Obama. People quote him as Salesman of the Year. That man is Salesman of the Decade."

The last spike in sales came shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Mazzant said.

Mazzant compared the supply and demand to so-called gas shortages that cause people to fill up their cars, and severe weather that leads people to grocery stores for bread and milk. If French fries were outlawed, Mazzant said there wouldn't be a deep fryer or potato left in the country.

"If they do outlaw it, like they say they're going to, you need to get it before they do," Mazzant said.

George Ruiz of Conyers purchased a Kel-Tec SU-2000 on Saturday because he said there hasn't been many of that model available lately. Ruiz also noticed a much larger crowd than normal.

"A lot of people are interested in picking up weapons before the bans go through," Ruiz said.

With a concealed weapons license, Ruiz said his paperwork process was smoother and faster than someone who doesn't have one.

Ruiz said he's also noticed a difference in the price of guns. One that cost $500 five years ago now costs $2,000, he said.

"They're just not out there, the supply is drying up," he said. "And the manufacturers just aren't keeping up with demand.

The only end in sight, vendors and gun enthusiasts agree, is if and when laws are passed.

"If the gun bills aren't passed, there isn't going to be as big a rush as there is now," Ruiz said. "Right now everybody is anticipating (the) worst-case scenario."

Comments

DavidBrown 1 year, 10 months ago

It was so sad watching it on tv last night. It was so sad looking at all those folks driven by fear. They looked like frightened children.

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Do you really think synthetic ridicule can replace logic?

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news2me 1 year, 10 months ago

It is sad that you felt the need to come here and cry I was so sad.

No one is forcing you to buy a gun or watch TV for that matter. With your fear of guns, you might want to think of taking a gun safety class. Your fear of guns makes you post like a frightened child.

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BufordGuy 1 year, 10 months ago

That's what your president has done. Used fear to try to spread his control. It's almost as sad as how scared you communists are of the Constitution.

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama is a man of action. The REaction to his actions are always a complete surprise to him and his supporters...................................................................................................... Fast and Furious gets people murdered "Didn't see that happening". .......................... .... Arab 'spring' ends up with radicals in power "Didn't see that happening". ................ Benghazi naivete gets people murdered "Didn't see that happening". .................... Obamacare causes healthcare costs to go up "Didn't see that happening". ..................... And now talk of another worthless gun control scheme causes gun and ammunition sales to skyrocket "Didn't see that happening". .............. Elections do have consequences.

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MissDaisyCook 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes I'm scared; Scared of the Obama gun Nazis coming through the door looking for guns, ammo and NRA magazines. God save our republic from this Administration.

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JV 1 year, 10 months ago

Here are some things I find interesting with this article. Those interviewed at the show indicated people are not buying the “assault” weapons Obama et al want to ban. The types of weapons being sold include shotguns. A weapon recommended last week by VP Joe Biden. And, people are buying due to fear of crime. Recent data from police and the FBI indicate crime has decreased substantially in recent years. Yet everyday we see dozens of media news accounts of violent crime against our citizens. What’s up?

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notblind 1 year, 10 months ago

Gun ownership rising, violent crime falling "Didn't see that happening". .............................. The truth is that for much of the country violent crime has actually fallen. Even in NY and Chicago. If you want to be amazed research the murder rates from years past. 2000+ in one year for NY back in the bad old days. It's now far easier to get a carry permit in many places than it was back then. Those high murder rates were part of the reason for making it easier to get a permit. Now the politicians and other idiots have forgotten the past and want us to go back there. ........................................ There is NO murder rate that is acceptable. Since police stop very few murders the only hope for the citizens is to keep their own means of self defense. One of the consequences of the 2nd Amendment is this ability to own a gun for defense from violent criminals.

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Hangdog 1 year, 10 months ago

Actually, Chicago has seen a significant increase in homicides. They had 513 in 2012, up 15% from 448 in 2011. In 2012, more people were killed in Chicago than US troops in Afghanistan.

The statistics are not new. While some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.

'Gun Control' just doesn't work and the current administration can't even see it, even when the head honcho's own stomping grounds of Chicago provides a perfect example of what happens. The two forced cash for guns situation in Australia is another example.

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TOWG 1 year, 10 months ago

I read the article and was a bit puzzled by the reference to the gun show loophole. What I read was that one of the vendors, a Mr. Mazzant witnessed a purchaser being turned down on a background check and then that person was later observed by Mr. Mazzant purchasing a firearm from a private individual. Folks, that is legal. It's no different than me selling a gun to my nephew and not running a background check. Now the problem is, I know and trust my nephew. Mr. Mazzant knew that the buyer could not pass the check and apparently did nothing to prevent that transfer and then reported that transfer to the GDP. Thanks for the great pro 2nd amendment PR Mr. Mazzant!! What were you thinking?? If I had paid more than an insignificant sum to be able to sell my legal product at a gun show and witnessed something like this I'd be raising hel"" with the promoter!!! Don't FFL holders have some sort of responsibility to report such a questionable exchange in their marketplace? How about a little respect for the industry that is feeding your family? Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy. The comments on the article have started to lean toward crime rates and the push for more gun control. I know this is going to get some peoples boxers in a bunch but I'm past caring. Look at the raw numbers of how MANY are being killed by guns in places like Chicago, New York, New Orleans, LA, and Atlanta, all major urban areas that account for most of the nations gun crime. Instead turn the focus on WHO is being killed and by WHOM. The vast, better than 75%, of the victims are involved in crime prior to their untimely demise and they are killed by fellow criminals.Tragedies like Sandy Hook and Aurora, where innocents are lost, are actually dwarfed by the huge number killed by guns that society is better off without. That doesn't even include gun deaths due to self-defense or the 2 million times a year the presence of a legally owned firearm prevents a crime. If you only count innocent victims of gun violence the US is one of the safest places on earth. Guess why?

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kevin 1 year, 10 months ago

Cases of bullets are flying off the shelves. Bravo for them for wanting to protect themselves from both criminals and a government going against its people. All who put their trust in big government should kick themselves.

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toby 1 year, 10 months ago

Obama and the media gets Salesman of the year for gun and ammo sells. The weatherman gets salesman of the year for milk and bread.

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