Crossroads of the West Gun Shows

Here's some notes on the event:

  • The show is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

  • Tickets are $12 and are available online as well as at the Convention Center, 2000 E. Convention Center Way.

  • Children who are under 12 years old can attend the event for free with a parent or guardian.

  • Gunbuyers must be residents of California.

    For more information and to purchase tickets, visit crossroadsgunshows.com.

  • Southern California's largest gun show opens today at the Ontario Convention Center, the first event locally since the massacre at a Connecticut school spawned calls for greater gun control in the United States.

    A number of gun shows throughout the U.S. have limited the types of weapons to be offered while others have cancelled them entirely.

    But as Crossroads of the West Gun Shows appears poised to open to record turnout, a local councilman said he doesn't believe tighter bans on firearms would be the answer to the question of what can be done to a stop rampage shootings.

    "Legislation in and of itself isn't really the answer. There's a point and time when the government has got to stop marching on our constitutional rights," said Ontario Councilman Jim Bowman, who owns guns himself.

    A gun show like Crossroads of the West has been banned at Fairplex in Pomona and other venues owned by the Los Angeles County government since supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina and Yvonne Burke voted to ban gun shows from county property in 1999.

    Yaroslavsky spokesman Joel Bellman said the supervisor did not think it was right for the county to make money from a gun show when he was simultaneously supporting stricter gun control laws.

    "We can't be involved in gun trafficking, even if indirectly," Bellman said.

    However, Bowman said he doesn't consider himself a gun advocate and does not favor gun control. He does, however, believe the right to bear arms is a constitutional right.

    "I respect it, I really do. The majority of folks are good law-abiding citizen," he said.

    Unfortunately, Bowman said there are individuals who abuse that privilege.

    "We sympathize with those who have lost loved ones but it's been at the hands of someone who was suffering at other issues," he said.

    Ontario's Convention Center hosted the annual gun show three times last year, said Michael Krouse, president and CEO of the Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.

    With each show "drawing larger and larger attendance and visitation from outside our city, it is anticipated that this year's show will break previous attendance records," he said.

    At gun shows throughout the nation, operators report sizeable crowds, apparently motivated by President Obama's re-election and the fear of future limits on gun sales.

    In Saratoga Springs, N.Y., show organizers, facing pressure, agreed to bar the display and sale of AR-15 military-style semiautomatic weapons and their large-clip magazines, similar to a weapons used at Newtown, Conn.

    "The majority of people wanted these guns out of the city," said Chris Mathiesen, Saratoga Springs' public safety commissioner.

    "They don't want them sold in our city, and I agree. Newtown, Conn., is not that far away."

    At the same time, the mayor of Barre, Vt., wants a ban on military-style assault weapons being sold at an annual gun show in February.

    The police chief in Waterbury, Conn., just a few miles from Newtown, has halted permits for gun shows, saying he was concerned about firearms changing hands that might one day be used in a mass shooting.

    In New York's suburban Westchester County, officials decided against hosting a gun show next month at the county center in White Plains.

    County Executive Rob Astorino had brought back the show in 2010 after a ban of more than a decade following the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, but he said the show would be inappropriate now.

    Three additional shows in New York's Hudson Valley and Danbury, Conn., were listed as cancelled on the website for Big Al's Gun Shows.

    In Saratoga Springs, show organizer David Petronis, of New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, agreed to the limit.

    "I don't think it's fair that we're taking the brunt of the problem," Petronis said, "but I can understand the reaction of people in doing so."

    He said his group is a "nice, clean family-oriented ... arms fair" that brings in thousands of visitors and a lot of money for the city.

    Other organizers say the gun shows are doing significant volumes.

    "The gun sales have been crazy. They are going through the roof," said Joel Koehler, a gun dealer who operates shows in Pennsylvania. While a few dealers have dropped out of this weekend's show in the Pocono Mountains, Koehler said, it's "because they have nothing to sell. They are out of inventory."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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