When cities own places like civic centers and other venues where special events can take place, they’re supposed to represent everyone in the community. That means not taking sides over politically sensitive ideas.
That’s often hard to do, though, because too many people view acknowledging the existence of other ideas as somehow taking sides. That seems to be what’s happening all over the country as city councils ban gun shows on public property.
Folks in Knoxville, who attended the Chilhowee Park Gun Show, expressed their displeasure with the city council. You see, the gun show is held at a publicly-owned venue, and the city council banned them from here on out.
Organizers of gun shows in the area feel that the resolution was misguided.
“According to the U.S. Department of Justice, it says, among prisoners who possessed a firearm during their offense, only .08 percent obtained their firearm from a gun show. So 99.2 percent of guns used in crime do not come from here.” said Torin Kehrli, manager of the gun show.
Torin also feels that the lack of gun shows in the area will affect the city’s economy.
“We usually have about 90 to about 140 businesses set up in here, and each one of them gets a hotel room for the entire weekend, eats out every meal and goes to the bars and gets gas. So that will have a significant economic impact considering we do this show several times a year.” Torin said.
Michael Branam attends many gun shows, and he says he’s not happy with the resolution and would like to keep the gun shows in the city.
“I feel like they’re trying to take away our gun rights as US citizens. We’re not here to hurt anybody. We’re just here to do a hobby that we love.” Branam said.
Of course, there are those who support the new measure. They tend to view gun shows as “legalized black markets” or something, apparently oblivious to the fact that the vast majority of gun transactions that take place at shows are with licensed gun dealers and background checks happen. The handful of purchases that don’t are face-to-face transfers that likely would still occur in some other venue.
Nothing gets solved by banning gun shows on public property.
You see, if this were private property, I’d shrug and say that this wasn’t a good move on their part, but I’d also defend their right to do it. Private property has the right to do as they wish. I’ve always believed that and always will, even if many communities disagree.
But this isn’t private property. This is public property, and by caving to the demands of a vocal minority, the council has taken a side in the very tense debate about our Second Amendment rights.
While I don’t agree that this, in and of itself, is the council taking away our rights–there are other alternatives in Knoxville to purchase a firearm, after all–it does illustrate that the city gives preference to the political arguments from one segment of the taxpaying base and not the rest.
That’s a problem, and I hope the voters recognize it as such come election time.