Officials at Wisconsin’s Spooner Area School District refused to vote on a measure canceling an upcoming gun show at Spooner Elementary School, saying they needed more information before making a decision on whether the event is appropriate.
The district has been under pressure to call off the event in the wake of the massacre in Connecticut, which claimed the lives of 20 children in an elementary school. However, confronted Monday night by an audience stacked with gun enthusiasts — with just two people speaking for canceling the show, according to The Spooner Advocate — district officials decided instead to delay their vote on whether or not to cancel the event.
The delay was due in part to local history: The Spooner Elementary School gun show has been put on by the local Indianhead Rifle 7 Pistol Club every year for the last two decades, according to Fox affiliate KMSP-TV. It also pulls in about $1,000 for the district each year, money that does not go unnoticed in a town of just 2,600, according to census data.
Additionally, many locals just didn’t understand the controversy. “Why would you not have a gun show there?” one onlooker asked, according to NBC affiliate KARE-TV. “That’s the question. There’s nothing harmful going on.”
Gun shows in particular have drawn scrutiny from public officials since the Newtown, Connecticut massacre because they exist in a legal gray area that allows individuals to bypass requirements for background checks and waiting periods by engaging in private sales.
The so-called “gun show loophole” was how the shooters at Columbine High School obtained their weapons. That same loophole also covers gun sales from individuals. Radcliffe Franklin Haughton bought a semi-automatic weapon in one such private sale last October — just two days after his wife obtained a restraining order against him — and went on to shoot seven women in a Milwaukee-area spa, ultimately killing his wife and two others, then himself.
The Spooner Area School District’s next meeting is on February 11. The gun show, which is not yet approved for 2013, usually takes place in April.
This video is from NBC affiliate KARE-TV, aired Monday, January 14, 2013.
Photo: Flickr user M Glasgow, creative commons licensed.