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Gun reform may also bring changes to gun shows

Over a dozen people attended a concealed carry course on Sunday at the Augusta Expo Center.
Over a dozen people attended a concealed carry course on Sunday at the Augusta Expo Center.(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 26, 2020 at 6:26 PM EST
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The Showmasters Gun Show was held this weekend at the Augusta Expo Center, and organizers said this weekend's show may have been the most crowded they've seen in years.

Gun reform

, like universal background checks and proposals on firearms training, will have an impact on how gun shows are organized.

were one of the first gun reform measures passed by the Virginia Senate.

Michael Gelles, a Showmasters manager, said gun show attendees can voluntarily do a background check at the shows, but if checks are mandatory, people can expect to see more state police in the future to help with keeping background check lines short.

"They have the voluntary choice to go to the State Police at this point, but then it turned into involuntary, and we'd expect more state police here at that point," Gelles said.

Other than purchasing firearms, attendees at the show can also take firearms training classes – which gun rights supports believe would no longer be allowed if

passes. However, Democrats say that bill would not apply to classes like that because the wording of the law specifically applies to training with firearms " to employ such training for use in, or in furtherance of, a civil disorder."

"It's teaching about gun safety, we want these things. Everyone wants people to know how to handle firearms correctly and not put themselves or others in danger when using them," Gelles said.

Glenn Blandford teaches concealed carry and firearm safety courses and said these courses are important to have at gun shows.

"There's millions and millions of guns out there that people are going to shoot and it's important and the responsible thing to do to be able to offer people safety classes and teach them how to operate those guns and use those guns safely," Blandford said. "It'd be a shame to see that go away."

Blandford said the proposed bill would punish instructors who are just trying to educate people and these classes are important for all.

"It makes our entire community safer when we [teach safety classes]," Blandford said.

Blandford said he agrees with universal background checks, but not allowing educational firearm classes just doesn't make sense.

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