Show Must Go On For Valley Gun Show

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

Even though thousands of people flocked to the Augusta Expo on Saturday, there was a feeling of remorse. Some of the vendors said that there were even some worries early in the day that protestors or something worse might try to make it into the show.

Even though those thoughts were running through many people's minds the doors still opened. Everyone with an opinion on Friday's tragedy.

Everyone strongly supporting gun ownership.

"You get into gun rights and people have a right to own a gun," said Tom Jenkins, a who uses a gun for target shooting. "People have a right to defend themselves. And I'm a hundred percent behind that."

"In spite of what happened yesterday, I don't think it has anything to do with the selling of guns or gun shows or the availability of guns," said Quinn Wilkerson.

There was a great reluctance by many in attendance to acknowledge a reporter in their midst. Tensions were high after Friday. Many plainly stated the old adage "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Everyone we did speak with insist that responsible gun owners would never do something like this. They say mental illness is the cause of gun violence.

"It's not about guns that pisses me off," said Charles Campbell, a former Marine. "It's about people's state of mind. I mean, where are they at in their life. Why are they doing dumb things?"

"That's why you see a lot of people on TV telling them, look for signs," said dealer Jeremy Bodkin. "You see somebody that doesn't look right. I'm not going to sell a gun to somebody that doesn't look right. People give signs."

When asked for their opinions of what could be done to prevent shootings from happening in the future, a majority told us basically the same thing.

"If teachers or school personnel were allowed to carry guns on premises, out of the reach of children of course, but carry on premises, then someone could have stopped that gentleman," said Kim Clark, who shared the sentiment with nearly everyone we spoke with.

Though, some others had a far less concrete response to the question.

"I don't know what the fix would be," said Jenkins. "You don't want to take the guns away from the guys that use them legally. That target shoot, for sport, like I do. I don't know what the answer is."

As these shootings become increasingly prominent the nation seems to be stuck on that response. The need for some sort of answer is dire, before the next tragedy happens.


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