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Gun show organizers say ban wouldn't work

2 years ago by Bob Gough

Gun-show organizers say Gov. Pat Quinn wouldn’t accomplish much with his recent idea to ban semi-automatic assault weapons from gun shows held on state-owned property


Gun-show organizers say Gov. Pat Quinn wouldn’t accomplish much with his recent idea to ban  semi-automatic assault weapons from gun shows held on state-owned property. 

“Overall, you look at dealers’ tables, (and) there’s not too many (assault weapons) out there,” said Dwight Menard, a gun dealer with the Egyptian Collectors Association Hunting and Trade Shows.

The Centralia-based ECA held a weekend show and sale earlier this month at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.  Some firearms at the show apparently would be illegal under recently proposed state and federal legislation.

Quinn commented on the possibility of limiting gun shows following a school safety “summit” last week.

“We are talking to the lawyers about that,” Quinn said in response to a reporter’s question.

Handful of shows

Even if Quinn took action to forbid such shows on state property, however, there probably would be little effect on either sites like the fairgrounds or the shows themselves.

In general, gun shows account for only a handful of the hundreds of events that take place each year at the fairgrounds, said Illinois Department of Agriculture Spokesman Jeff Squibb

For example, the fairgrounds has booked ECA shows just twice per year for the past six years. In 2012, the ECA paid the fairgrounds about $3,500 for both shows, which includes rent, utilities and other expenses, Squibb said.

Fairgrounds revenue and scheduling would be affected “minimally at best” if shows were banned, Squibb said.

For their part, gun-show organizers like the ECA could easily move their shows to privately owned sites if Quinn were to ban some types of gun shows from state property, Menard said.

At the same time, however, he said, the ECA wouldn’t have a problem leaving these types of guns out of its shows.

“(Semi-automatic assault weapons) are just not a huge part of the shows,” Menard said.

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