It is a sad day for Tennessee gun owners after gun control advocates passed legislation ending a 35-year tradition of gun shows at the city-owned Nashville Fairgrounds.
Unfortunately, this is once again a case of bad actors committing criminal acts that had nothing to do with the gun show, and everything to do with knee-jerk political actions being levied against the legal gun owners and sellers.
The Metro Board of Fair Commissioners voted 3-0 (one member abstained), to ban gun shows from being held at the fair grounds—after any contractually bound shows to avoid litigation.
Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Shows has rented space on the fairgrounds since the 1970s, and along with the RK Gun Show, is the main target of the new rules. Fortunately, the shows scheduled for this weekend will be allowed to continue (as already mentioned), but without an intervention of some type, this may be the last shows at the fair grounds. The board has halted any gun shows from being held at the fair grounds after 30 days from the date of the vote.
“We’re responsible for this facility and the activity that goes on here,” said fair board chairman Ned Horton, who was among the three commissioners to vote for the halt. Horton said he believes there’s clearly been inappropriate activity at the fairgrounds gun shows that needs to be controlled. Unfortunately, he does not intend to control it. Instead he wishes to punish the thousands of law abiding attendees and sellers.
“Based on what I’m seeing here — we’re not trial judges, but we do have information in the court system — it seems to me that our promoter, or our promoters, have not been good stewards of our property.”
This was not caused by a break in BATFE rules or a criminal act at all. At the hearing, members of the Safe Tennessee Project had their say. “I was appalled by some of the merchandise I saw being sold at the show — a show that is billed as being ‘family-friendly,’” said Safe Tennessee Project Policy Director Beth Joslin Roth. “Bumper stickers suggesting that to keep America Free, you should ‘shoot a liberal.’ Confederate flags and items emblazoned with the Confederate flag were everywhere. Everything from rebel flag hats, pocket knives, clocks, t-shirts, and firearm accessories were for sale.”
Further, as reported by The Tennessean, the group had Assistant District Attorney Jenny Charles speak about three cases in which guns allegedly bought at the show were used in crime or were purchased by prohibited possessors in private sales without background checks. This included one man who later smuggled guns to gangs in Australia, another of a convicted felon who purchased an AR-15, and a third of a prohibited possessor who bought two rifles at a fairgrounds gun show.
Of course, a gun that was legally purchased, with a background check, and then later used in a crime is impossible to prevent and ludicrous to even attempt by banning a show. Likewise, there are already laws that govern private party sales to an individual who is prohibited from owning the firearm. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure the person receiving the firearm is legally allowed to possess it.
Banning the gun show as a result is tantamount to banning Wal-Mart after someone bought a couch from an Internet site and met to pick it up in Wal-Mart’s parking lot. Unfortunately, gun control advocates and those making the rules simply do not get it. The laws are already there. You cannot make it more illegal and feel good rules such as banning a gun show will never address the will of a criminal to commit an evil act.