Thousands in Southeast attend gun show in Knoxville

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edited December 2001 in General Discussion
Thousands in Southeast attend gun show in Knoxville2001-12-30by Patricia Grames PollockSpecial to The Daily TimesKNOXVILLE -- Independent gun dealers from all over the southern part of the United States could be found at the Gun Show in the Smokies, held at Chilhowee Park from Friday until today. People of all ages were there Saturday to see what they could buy, sell or trade.Gun show producer Mike Holloway, an antique gun dealer, would not allow the media inside the huge Jacob Building for interviews or to take pictures. He said this ban was to protect the privacy of the dealers.``The firearms community is very guarded with the media,'' Holloway, a lifelong resident of Knoxville, explained. We've had far too many hatchet jobs from the media.''At one booth with long lines, it was possible to sign up for membership in the National Rifle Association (NRA). Anyone who paid the $35 membership fee was allowed free admittance to the show. All sorts of guns, knives, bullets, and accessories were available, and security was understandably tight. A guard at the entrance checked and disabled whatever guns were being carried inside. Holloway said gun sales picked up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.``It's what people are doing to prepare for what they hope won't happen,'' he said. ``The terrorist attacks made Americans feel more vulnerable. Americans like to feel secure. Gun sales across the spectrum have been up.''He has also noticed an increase in the amount of women buying guns for self-protection. ``Nobody ever raped a .38 (caliber handgun),'' he quoted.Young people were welcome at the show if parents or guardians accompanied them.``We're a family business,'' Holloway said. ``We don't want any gang members here.''To legally purchase a handgun at the show, you must be a resident of Tennessee aged 21 years or older. In order to buy a long gun -- a shotgun or rifle -- you have be 18 years old. Black powder muzzleloaders do not fall under the Gun Control Act of 1968 and, according to Holloway, can be exchanged without paperwork.The controversial issue of gun control isn't going to go away for a long time to come. Gun owners insist that the U.S. Constitution grants them the right to bear arms, and that to deny them that right would be catastrophic.``When you disarm a population,'' said Holloway, ``you make them victims.''The Gun Show in the Smokies will last through 5 p.m. today. The next one will be at the same venue on March 2 and 3, 2002. http://www.thedailytimes.com/sited/story/html/78102
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