The concern over stricter gun laws and a possible ban on assault weapons is causing a mad rush at gun shows. But those in attendance aren't just there for guns, they're taking classes so they can get a conceal carry permit.
The Roanoke Valley Gun Show is taking place at the Roanoke Civic Center this weekend. There's a feeling of urgency among those who own firearms. They're taking steps now because no one knows for sure what the future holds in terms of new gun laws.
We spoke with Allan Clark of the National Rifle Association.”I would say percentage wise the gun shows are probably up 50%, at least,” he said.
Annette Elliott organized the Showmasters Incorporated Gun Show. “Folks are worried about their rights getting taken away so they are coming in and they're buying of course the weapons that are deemed assault weapons but they are also buying other guns that they like,” she said.
And there were plenty to choose from. But it wasn't just about the guns. Ammunition has been flying off shelves nationwide. Some businesses have run out.
That's why people like Ronald Upshur waited in line. “So if you're going to get anything, you better get it because it's gonna be probably double the price later on,” he warned.
Another busy spot was the gun safety class for people seeking a conceal carry permit. John Markell taught a class today. “Tripled---for the last month I taught at the Salem gun show 2 weeks ago I had 84 people in 2 days and I already filled up 50 people here today,” said Markell.
People who support gun rights say the focus is on the wrong areas. They say more money should be set aside to help those who suffer from mental illness. “All this money coming out--we, the society, are going to suffer where we don't have the meds and the beds and the physicians and staff to deal with the mentally ill,” said Annette Elliott.
The gun show included more than 500 with merchandise and the event continues tomorrow at the Roanoke Civic Center from 9a.m. until 4p.m.