A gun show being held in Salem is hosting record crowds. The gun show's organizer says more than 4,000 people attended the gun and knife show at the Salem Civic Center Saturday alone. Normally, they see between 4,500 and 5,000 people the entire weekend.
Nelson Starkey owns quite a few and he's looking for a handgun to protect his house. He says guns ensure safety. “I know I would-- if I had a gun in my hand, if I see a guy come in there got a gun and start shooting, I'm gonna do my best to get him before he get the rest of them,” he said. But Starkey says assault weapons should be outlawed. He says that's just too much fire power although he acknowledges other guns can kill too. “It could be any of them but the regular guns won't shoot but 5 or 6 times. You got to load that gun back up and the people might have a chance to get away from them guns,” he said.
Both the shooting in Connecticut and the gun control debate were on the minds of many at the gun show. As far as stricter gun laws? Joe McClung weighed in a possible legislation from Congresswoman Dianne Feinstein. “Well my question is which one of these weapons that Dianne Feinstein approves of would she want these terrorists or crazy people to use,” said McClung.
Kim Clark is selling candles at this weekend’s gun show. She has a personal reason for keeping firearms handy and says school officials should be armed. “In 2010, my husband and I were both shot in our house in southeast Roanoke. We held the guy at gunpoint while I dialed 911 for the police to come and try to arrest him. We promote gun sales,” she said. “Guns don't kill people. People kill people. And the ones that have mental problems, or are not taken care of as far as their medicine and all go, they are the dangerous ones but good people with guns can stop a bad person with a gun,” Clark continued.
Robert Elliot is an event organizer. “Law abiding armed citizens stop crime. It happens every day. And when I say stop crime it doesn't mean a law abiding armed citizen shoots somebody else. Just by the fact that they are armed they can deescalate a situation. It happens all the time,” said Elliott.
Last Friday's school shooting and the control debate have contributed to an increase gun sales as well as ammunition sales. In fact, some large companies may actually run out of ammo in a few weeks.
The gun show continues Sunday from 10a.m. to 5p.m.