Gun show draws crowd in shooting's wake

GARRISON WELLS Updated: December 15, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: December 15, 2012

A day after 20 children and six adults were killed at a Connecticut elementary school, a gun show in Colorado Springs was loaded with shoppers.

Cars overflowed the parking lot at the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center Saturday onto the grass and into adjacent parking lots.

The crowd was mostly men, but, there were plenty of couples, kids — some in strollers — and plenty to shop for besides guns and gun paraphernalia.

There was jewelry, autographed prints of Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and the cast of the movie “Tombstone,” food, snacks and clothing.

Still, the spectre of the shooting and the threat of tighter restrictions on guns was evident.
Richard Cathcart, a facility armor and firearms instructor at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, was looking for a .22-caliber handgun with his 10-year-old son, Dalton.

Strapped to his back was a 22-caliber rifle he hoped to sell for $200. A 45-caliber handgun rested in a holster on his right hip.

While some are calling for tighter gun regulations, Cathcart has a different solution.

On Monday, Cathcart plans to contact his son’s school and volunteer as an armed security guard to protect the kids.

“If people don’t get involved and volunteer, because of the economy and school cuts, it won’t happen,” he said.

The show was promoted by R.K. Shows Inc., the largest gun show operator in the United States. The company had five shows Saturday.

A battle looms for gun enthusiasts.

Colorado’s Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has said he wants lawmakers to discuss gun regulations in the upcoming legislative session, but declined to take a position on the subject.

President Barack Obama on Friday said lawmakers must “take meaningful action” in the school shooting’s wake, which some read as a call for gun control.

More specific calls for strict gun regulations have come from some lawmakers, celebrities and anti-gun groups.

“Gun violence in American is out of control in this country and we call on President Obama to be true to his word and to his best instincts,” said Barbara Gottlieb, with Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington, D.C.

At the Springs gun show, James Caretto said he doesn’t want more gun restrictions, even though they might help his business. He sells knives, from the throwing kind to spring-loaded knives for self defense.

“If you buy a gun at this show, you’re going to go through a check,” he said. “What are they going to tighten up?”

It’s not the guns, Cathcart said, but the person pulling the trigger.

“If someone hits a bunch of people with a car, do they blame the car?” he asked. “I don’t feel guns cause the problem, people do. They want to blame the guns right away. There’s no reason to infringe on citizen’s rights.”

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