TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Should Pima County allow gun shows to be hosted on its properties? It’s a question posed by Citizens for a Safer Pima County.
Two members of the group, Molly McKasson and Nancy Bowman, used the call to the audience at Thursday’s Pima County Fair Board meeting to ask for a public hearing on the the gun shows.
They pair was met by several dozen backers of gun shows, who were asked to attend by Bob Templeton, the owner of the Crossroads of the West Gun Shows.
Templeton’s company puts on the gun show at the Pima County Fair Grounds. This year, the event is scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 14-15. For hours and ticket information, go HERE.
The county board, a non-profit that manages the fairgrounds, made it clear any public hearing on the issue was not within its jurisdiction.
McKasson, who made the same request from the Pima County Board of Supervisors, was told by the county to address the board.
“We’ve been given a run around and have now come full circle,” McKasson said.
The women object to person-to-person sales, which they say account for up to 40 percent of the sales at the gun show.
They said those person-to-person sales do not have to pass a background check.
Transactions which include a licensed dealer must go through the background process.
Bowman said she bought three guns at the gun show, paid cash and was never asked for identification.
“I’m not saying you can’t buy a gun,” she said. “How did they determine I’m not a criminal.”
Bowman said she is not anti-gun, she said she owns eight of them. It’s just she believes the shows at the fair grounds opens the doors for felons to buy guns.
She and Templeton had a friendly, but sometimes terse, conversation following the meeting. The entire conversation can watched below.
Templeton said there are safeguards in place.
“The law enforcement plus the probation and parole people are there, they identify,” he said. “They know who the bad guys are.”
He said undercover agents will also attend the shows without telling local law enforcement nor communicate who they are.
During the conversation, which remained civil, both agreed for the need of stricter guidelines.
“I think we have to make some progress in identifying who the extremists are,” Templeton said. “The so called red flag laws.”
Bowman adds that her group is not against the seller of guns, but she would like to see controls on the buyer.
“We’re not against the seller at all,” she said. “We are against the buyer, the felon who is coming out here and buying a gun.”
Templeton said there’s no evidence of that happening at the Pima County gun shows.
“We have not been contacted by one law enforcement agency,” he said. “That’s not happening here.”
“You won’t see me advocate for background checks because I don’t like to interfere with the rights of individuals who own and use firearms lawfully,” he said.