Knoxville gun show still a go despite Newtown shooting

Knoxville gun show still a go despite Newtown shooting


6 News Reporter

Gun shows take place several times each year in Knoxville. One is even scheduled for next Friday.

After last week's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., is it too soon?

Throughout Knoxville, brightly colored billboards advertise the gun show at Chilhowee Park, which scheduled for just two weeks after the deadly shooting in Connecticut.

But a gun show promoter said people have a right to attend the show.

"It's your God given right to protect you and your own," Bill Huff, a National Rifle Association gun show promoter said. "Of course what happened last Friday was so tragic and I think it's due to our way of life."

Wednesday, President Barack Obama vowed to address gun violence in the country.

"The fact that we can't prevent every act of violence doesn't mean that we can't steadily reduce the violence and prevent the very worst violence," Obama said. "That's why I've asked the Vice President (Joe Biden) to lead an effort that includes members of my cabinet and outside organizations to come up with a set of concrete proposals."

One of the possible proposals includes the idea to close loopholes at gun shows that allow some weapons to be sold without a background check.

"I don't see it as a loophole because it is an individual right under our constitution," Huff said.

The so-called loophole here in Tennessee allows private sellers to forgo a background check while licensed dealers must have one from every customer. Despite his stance, Huff admits he would support some new gun restrictions.

"If our government will look at that, the actual safety part of it, if they had more strict rules on these people who don't need to be having these weapons, I think that would solve a lot of problems," he explained.

The company that puts on the gun shows in Knoxville every couple of months, R.K. Shows, said they plan to host next weekend's show. They do not plan to make any changes in light of recent events.

City of Knoxville, who owns Chilhowee Park, also weighed in on the show and the circumstances surrounding it.

"We have all been impacted by the senseless tragedy in Newtown and know that local, state, and national discussions will ensue regarding gun policies and potential legislative reforms,"  Angela Starke, City of Knoxville Senior Communications Director, said.  "In the meantime, the gun show scheduled at Chilhowee Park is legal, has been under contract for more than a year, and the promoter must meet state and federal regulations for gun shows as well as the City of Knoxville's additional security requirements." 

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