Spooner Elementary School has hosted the show without much objection for the last two decades. But less than a month after the mass shooting at Newtown elementary school that claimed the lives of 20 first graders and 7 others, some community members are raising objections to the idea of welcoming hundreds of guns and gun owners into a public elementary school.
Tim Brabec, a member of the club and organizer of their annual gun show, told ThinkProgress that the decision to use the elementary school is one of convenience.
“Who doesn’t have sympathy with the families in [Connecticut]?” said Brabec when asked about whether the visual of a gun show at an elementary school was appropriate so soon after the deadly shooting in Newtown. “But we don’t associate one with the other. We don’t go there for the shock value.”
Shock was but one reaction to the news that the town was considering granting the show permission to use the school. “I do not agree with it at all,” said one commenter online. “I was shocked to hear about it last year, and can’t believe they would even consider it this year after the shooting in CT.”
Also a point of contention is that the Indianhead Rifle and Pistol Club stands to make a handsome profit off of the sale of guns at this event by exploiting the gun show loophole that has become one focal point of the renewed debate over gun control.
“Gun Shows are a major opportunity for people who would fail the background check to obtain their guns,” argued another commenter. “Do we really think a school has any business (even thought it is a source of income for them) offering the public buildings for this possible loophole?”
State law forbids people from bringing guns within 1000 feet of public schools, but it does make exceptions for guns shows by licensed gun manufacturers and dealers.
Brabec said that he expects a close vote at tonight’s meeting, with three board members opposed to the show, three who support it and one undecided in his estimation.
On Monday night, the Spooner school board delayed their vote on whether or not to block the club from using the town’s elementary school for their annual gun show. According to the local NBC affiliate, board members questioned the show’s organizers on whether everyone in attendance at the show would be required to hold valid licenses, and if they could move the show to a different venue. Opponents of the plan told the board that it is not the show itself they have a problem with, just the location. (h/t Raw Story).