Local/State

Gun control debate reaches Philly Gun Show

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The threat of tighter gun control laws continues to result in unusually large crowds at gun shows.

For example, thousands of people are spending part of this weekend at the National Guard Armory where the Philadelphia Gun Show is taking place.

Show organizers say attendance is higher than ever as President Barack Obama and gun control advocates are pushing the whole issue into the spotlight.

"We've had the largest crowd probably in the history we've done the show here," gun dealer Dave Zeller of Scranton, Pa. said.

Zeller and just about everyone else at the Philadelphia Gun Show sees the current debate over gun control as a threat to the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans.

And they're stocking up, just in case gun buying laws change.

Zeller agrees with gun control advocates, who marched in Washington yesterday, that criminals and the mentally ill shouldn't have guns.

But he adds that if the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School had been armed and trained, she could've stopped the gunman in her office before he began shooting children.

Zeller likens banning or limiting gun sales to banning cars because some people drive drunk.

"When you ban something, the only people you are taking that away from are law abiding citizens. Criminals, by definition, don't follow any laws. So if you were to say we want to ban a standard capacity magazine or a semi-automatic rifle, that is not going to stop a criminal intent on committing a violent act," Zeller said.

Clearly, gun control is one of the most divisive issues in the country right now.

President Obama has called for a ban on assault rifles, and high capacity magazines and wants mandatory background checks.

The President has the support of people like Brian Clements, whose wife survived the Sandy Hook shooting, and Colin Goddard, who was shot at Virginia Tech, but survived.

They were among those who marched on Washington yesterday.

"I'm not here today because of what happened to me, I'm here today because I kept seeing what happened to me happen to so many other people," Goddard said.

While the debate over gun control continues, the Philadelphia Gun Show ends today.

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Tags:
philadelphia, northeast philadelphia, guns, local/state, amy buckman
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