Official questions if gun show has place in county buildings
by Geoff Folsom
December 23, 2012 12:33 AM | 5153 views | 19 19 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jim Miller Park in Marietta welcomed this year’s Eastman Gun Show on Saturday. Attendees waited in line for up to a half hour just to get in the door.<br>Staff/Todd Hull
Jim Miller Park in Marietta welcomed this year’s Eastman Gun Show on Saturday. Attendees waited in line for up to a half hour just to get in the door.
Staff/Todd Hull
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MARIETTA — Hundreds lined up for a gun show Saturday at Jim Miller Park, even while an incoming Cobb County Commissioner said it might be time for the county government to look at whether it should continue hosting such events in its buildings.

Eastman Gun Shows Inc. organized the show in two exhibit halls at the fairgrounds. The show was the first one the Fitzgerald-based company has conducted in the county since the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, including 20 children.

At noon, the line for the entrance to the gun show stretched several hundred feet from Exhibit Hall B, past Exhibit Hall A and around the Ranger Office. While the shootings have led to new calls for gun control, those in attendance said that would be counterproductive.

Michael Lee of Hampton said prices inside the show have doubled and tripled, leading him to come away from the event only buying a strap for his rifle. He attributes the cost increases as a response to calls for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban from figures like President Barack Obama and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

“He’s creating a panic and people are buying ammo like crazy and guns like crazy,” Lee said of Obama. “It’s not going to stop the violence.”

The 1,500-space parking lot at Jim Miller Park was more than half full Saturday, the first day of the two-day Eastman show. A count of the license plates in the lot showed more than three dozen Georgia counties represented, along with several other states. A day after National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre called for placing armed security guards in every school, some of the license plates said “Educator” on them.

The gun shows are a money maker for Cobb County, with county officials saying earlier this week that 12 gun shows have brought in $73,000 for the county this year, up slightly from 2011. Show promoters pay a base fee to the county for use of facilities and equipment, and afterward pay 10 percent of their gross admissions.

The next Eastman show is scheduled for Jan. 5 to 6 at the Cobb Civic Center, the other county building rented out for gun shows.

By then, southwest Cobb Commissioner-elect Lisa Cupid will be in office. She said she may ask for a review of the policy for allowing gun shows and other events at county buildings.

“It does seem questionable, but I don’t know the history of it,” she said.

Cupid said there have been concerns in the past about the use of the county-owned Mable House Arts Center for events that the county didn’t deem fit to host. She feels it might be time for an “across the board” look at what are appropriate uses for county facilities.

“I guess at some point in time, it may be good to see what’s acceptable and what’s not,” said Cupid, who will be the commission’s only Democrat once she is sworn in next month.

Southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott said he is OK with the gun shows, provided that the county doesn’t lose money by hosting them.

“The actual event I don’t really have a problem with, we want to make sure they are doing background checks,” he said.

Lee said the county facilities are a good place to host the gun shows.

“I think there is some control here,” he said. “If they don’t, it’s just going to put them on the black market.”

Raymond Johns, a show organizer with Eastman, declined to allow the Journal inside the exhibit halls for photographs or interviews. But according to Eastman’s website, admission to the shows is $8 for adults and free for children under 12. The website also prohibits the sale of any “racial, ethnic, sexist or hate mongering material.”

Signs outside the building warned, “No Loaded Guns!”

Earlier this week, Johns told the Journal that he tries to have only federally licensed gun sellers at his shows, because they are required to perform background checks on all buyers. The only loopholes allowing buyers to bypass a background check are person-to-person sales.

On Saturday, some of those sales appeared to be taking place in the parking lot at Jim Miller Park.

Many of those entering the park walked past flags still at half staff in honor of the Connecticut shooting victims. The event was also the day after the funeral for Clayton County Police Officer Sean Callahan at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in east Cobb. Police said the 2006 Lassiter High School graduate was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call Monday, and died Tuesday morning.

At the entrance to the Jim Miller Park parking lot a group of three protesters stood. Clint Taylor of Smyrna, who said he is a Quaker and a Unitarian, held a sign reading, “What Gun Would Jesus Buy?” He said that going to such an event so close to Christmas is inappropriate.

“If you’re shooting somebody with a 9mm Glock, how can you say it is a loving act?” Taylor said. “Jesus said if somebody takes your cloak, give them your coat. There are other ways to stop evil without killing somebody.”

While he said he wasn’t there to protest the Second Amendment, Taylor questioned why the county would allow such events on its property.

“I’m not against hunting, but I think the whole business is based upon fear,” he said. “That people are scared and also responding to trauma.”
Comments
(19)
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adfhsadiu
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December 25, 2012
Wow,

And I thought Annette Kesting was out there! Ms. Cupid is lining up to be the incredibly effective representative as the honorable and whacky leader Ms. Kesting.
MOMHeather
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December 24, 2012
“If you’re shooting somebody with a 9mm Glock, how can you say it is a loving act?” Taylor said. “Jesus said if somebody takes your cloak, give them your coat. There are other ways to stop evil without killing somebody.”

Who said that the people inside would be shooting people? That's ridiculous. The main focus of the school shooting tragedy should be mental health and illness. You can have the same argument about all weapons. Until we provide mental health preventative measures, these tragedies will continue to occur.
Call It Like It Is
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December 24, 2012
Ms. Cupid do you really wish to pick this fight. Do you think this is what your voters wish? Your area has some of the worse crime in the metro area, your buildings and cities in general are in needs of a lot of attention, how are your schools compared to the other county schools?
D.G. in Clarkdale
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December 24, 2012
Initially I was willing to give Ms. Cupid a chance as she is new, but with this comment she has instantly received her first FAILING grade. My suggestion to her is; focus on the real issues not this trumped up distraction by the radical anti-american left. Also Ms. Cupid, for your own sake don't listen to Morgan.
Davis Mac
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December 24, 2012
or Stupid... I am quite sure there will be plenty of more important southside issues other than facility usage. Geeez.
VFP42
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December 24, 2012
What gun would Jesus buy? Popular belief says he was a Jew living in Israel, so I am guessing he would have bought an Uzi.

Ott says we have to have gun shows in public facilities or only criminals will have gun shows? That is an "interesting" take. Are there no private facilities available, Ott?

At least black market gun buyers would be in the same place Georgian marijuana buyers. Maybe they could pick up a baggie and calm down. Hey! Ott's a genius!
David Staples
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December 24, 2012
Actually VFP42, that was Tim Lee that said that - not Ott.

As far as private facilities available - I guess the gun show could probably be held in a hotel ballroom or something - but why would the county government want to turn away revenues? Would it be better to just raise our property taxes again instead? While I don't often go to gun shows, I live in Ms. Cupid's district and have a Georgia Weapons Carry License. I like the fact that our county is hospitable to those who exercise and support the Constitutional right to bear arms.
proudvet
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December 24, 2012
Full disclosure: I am a gun owner.

Interesting how VFP42 makes up what they want to say. I don;t see anywhere in this article that ott says anything about having to have shows in public facilities or only criminals will show up.

@VFP42's post is pure fantasy and is only there to bash ott
VFP42
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December 25, 2012
Sorry Mr. Ott! I stand corrected, it was Mr. Lee who said that. Ott merely said he does not have a problem with the gun shows. Lee is the one presenting a bogeyman as the alternative to county hosted gun sales.

I was educated here in Georgia and always scored low on reading comprehension. Honestly it's a miracle I can read or write at all. For those abilities, I thank my parents.
anonymous
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December 23, 2012
Maybe Ms. Cupid doesn't comprehend that being a Federally-licensed gun dealer is a legitimate business. To deny them equal access to venues enjoyed by other businesses is discriminatory and could cost the County a lot of money in a civil suit.

Additionally, the firearms industry brings a lot of money, jobs, and tax revenue to the County. By coloring those businesses as somehow shady or immoral is an insult to those employers and workers.

It is a foreign concept nowadays--people making products which other people want to buy without the government crawling up their nose--but it drove the economic miracle of the USA for a long time. Hostile politicians are one reason many jobs get sent overseas.
Denislee
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December 23, 2012
How many shots were fired at the gun show?
VFP42
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December 24, 2012
None! There was no elementary school in attendance.
D.G. in Clarkdale
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December 24, 2012
@VFP42, that was a classless thing to say.
VFP42
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December 25, 2012
You're right, sorry about that.

None! The gun show was not held in the maternity center of the local hospital.
real world
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December 23, 2012
Good luck with that Commissioner Cupid
Just Wait
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December 23, 2012
Ms. Cupid, don't be stupid. You may represent the only Democratic section of Cobb County, but remember the Republicans that fill the rest of the county love their guns. You're shooting yourself in the foot before you even step into the Commission room.
Watcher..
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December 23, 2012
Cupid must already be listening to Ms. Thomas-Morgan whose advice is generally not helpful.

Ms. Cupid will get nowhere with this issue!

Southern Patriot
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December 23, 2012


At the entrance to the Jim Miller Park parking lot a group of three protesters stood. Clint Taylor of Smyrna, who said he is a Quaker and a Unitarian, held a sign reading, “What Gun Would Jesus Buy?” He said that going to such an event so close to Christmas is inappropriate.

He claims to be a Quaker and a Unitarian, that says it all.

WOWCOBB
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December 23, 2012
Last time I checked the gun show organizers pay a fee to the county right, in this economy every penny counts. While we are at it lets stop the churhes from using county buildings and schools, the churches pay a fee to the school board also right????

Another knee jerk reaction. Take the guns from the law abiding citzens and the criminals win!

Just another gun-hating democrat!
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