Florida's largest gun show expected to draw record numbers

Gun vendors started setting up today

LAKELAND, Fla. - The state's largest gun show opens in the Tampa Bay area tomorrow. Vendors and organizers are setting up at the Lakeland Rifle and Pistol Club Gun Show, at the Lakeland Canter.

Lately, there have been long lines at shows across the country, as the White House tries to come up with measures to address gun violence.

They include strengthening the national criminal background check system and more federal research on gun violence. The president is asking lawmakers to impose a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and to renew the now expired ban on semi-automatic or so-called assault style weapons.
Vendors spent the day unpacking trailers, hauling guns in by the cart loads and lining up for the big show.

Doug Heiser buys and sells antique guns. He says today's crowd is nothing compared to the lines we'll see when doors officially open. Organizers expect 6,000 to 8,000 people to attend. Heiser said, "Those people are there for mass quantities of ammunition and we're afraid of the laws that are coming."

The large numbers are in response to President Obama's half-billion dollar plan aimed at reducing gun violence. The Commander In Chief called on congress to ban military-style assault weapons and limit how many bullets a magazine can hold.

Jack Schubert has been hosting the gun show for decades. He does not support President Obama's plan and says it's violating gun owners' rights. Schubert said, "Why does a guy own a machine gun? Because he likes it. It's something he wants to collect. He likes to go out and shoot it. He has fun with it. Ok, it can do damage. We all know that. But, so can a single barrel shotgun."

The plan also calls for closing loopholes on background checks. But, that's a part of the proposal Schubert says he can accept. Schubert said, "That would probably prevent people that shouldn't have a gun from buying a gun. For instance if the had a psychological problem or something like that. Ok, I can live with that."

But, passing the controversial bill won't be easy. It's expected to face harsh criticism in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and even in the Democratic-led Senate.

The Lakeland Rifle and Pistol Club Gun Show runs January 19 and 20, from 9 am until 5 pm Saturday and 9 am until 4 pm Sunday. Admission is $11. For more information, you can call (863) 665-0092.

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