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May 28, 2015

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Gun-show organizer estimates that 10,000 people attended first day

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People crowded Cashman Center Saturday for the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, which ends Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012.

A sense of urgency pervaded the Crossroads of the West Gun Show on Saturday at the Cashman Center.

People swarmed hundreds of vendor booths, stocking up on ammunition and guns like it was a Mayan apocalypse. Cases holding ammunition were emptied and vendors such as Andrew Prosser of Big Gun Enterprises wondered if they’d have enough goods to sell on Sunday.

A line of people waiting to exercise their Second Amendment rights wrapped around the outside of the Cashman Center. Show owner Bob Templeton estimated that 10,000 people attended the event on Saturday, easily surpassing their usual one-day total.

“We were expecting busy, but this may be our biggest show in 35 years,” Templeton said. “People are coming out in response to the concerns about firearms and ammunition (restrictions).”

On Dec. 16, President Barack Obama said that Congress has a responsibility to address the shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Specifics have not been drawn up, but debate has heated up on both sides of the gun-control issue.

The gun-show floor was like a crowded street market throughout most the morning and afternoon. There were jet-black assault rifles propped up with sale tags, rifles mounted for perspective buyers and handguns on display. Others sold hunting gear, beef jerky and barbecue sauce.

Range Toys vendor A.J. Macantangay said demand for equipment had been “through the roof.” Most people bought magazines and equipment for assault rifles and AK-47s out of fear that they wouldn’t be available in the future.

“This is the busiest first day I’ve ever seen,” Macatangay said. “I’ve never seen a line wrap around (the Cashman Center).”

David Harcourt clutched a dictionary-sized box of 9-mm bullets and a receipt close to his chest as he searched for a “John Wayne-style” pump rifle. Harcourt loves gun shows for the camaraderie they provide, not to mention the special deals that are offered.

He waited 30 minutes in line to enter the event and searched nine different vendors for the ammunition. He’s had a concealed weapons permit for seven years and is concerned about the potential for gun restrictions.

“I use it to protect my family,” Harcourt said of his gun. “What am I supposed to do, hit (an attacker) with a lawnmower? I got to have something.”

Not everyone at the gun show was interested in purchasing guns or stocking up. Ron Landon was one of dozens of people selling his private weapons. He meandered around the booths trying to drum up interest in a Mac-10 .45 caliber submachine gun and two AK-47s.

“I didn’t know if I wanted the weapons anymore, and with the (potential) restrictions, I just felt like now is the time to sell (them),” Landon said.

He said the gun show offers him a chance to sell his weapon legally through a transfer facilitator. He said he’s had 10 different offers throughout the afternoon.

“There’s just been a frenzy our president has placed on the country with his statement on his intentions as far as gun restrictions go,” Landon said.

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